The first is Camellia japonica 'Black Magic'. This sultry beauty has dark, blood red flowers with a fringe of white hairs on the edge of the petals for extra definition. The petals are thick, glossy, and survive frosts down to at least 22 degrees Fahrenheit even when fully open (which is about 4 or 5 inches across). Hardy to zone 7, according to Camellia Forest Nursery, this camellia has a very upright habit in youth. The leaves are bright green and glossy with big teeth, providing good contrast to the flowers and an interesting texture. None of these images have been altered except a little cropping. I try to adjust the shutter speed and F-stop to provide the most accurate representation of the color in real life.
|Gratuitous artsy shot|
|Yes, the petals really start out this dark! And the white fuzz on the edges give them a wonderful definition|
|As the petals expand, they gradually lighten to a deep red tinged with black.|
|But these black flowers have a touch of gold in their hearts.|
This next one is really unusual and beautiful. Camellia japonica 'Kujaku Tsubaki'. This fascinating cultivar is also sometimes known as the peacock camellia. Hardy to zone 7, this semi-weeping shrub grows to 12' x 8' bearing 3-4" long red flowers streaked and flecked with white, so that no two are alike. They do not open fully, rather having a hose-in-hose appearance. The long, narrow leaves add to the graceful effect. Open flowers are not as hardy as 'Black Magic', suffering some damage, but buds are produced copiously providing a good show regardless.
|The beautiful specimen growing at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens|
|The white pattern on this flower actually looks like a peacock or maybe a phoenix to me. See the long tail with the wings on either side? I should have peeled back the petals and bracts at the base of the flower to see if there was a head!|
|This specimen growing at Juniper Level Botanic Gardens has an exceptionally graceful form growing in the dense shade (in summer) of a black walnut. In sun this is a much fuller plant, but I prefer it this way.|
|It has a beautiful, layered appearance, rather than the impenetrable green blob typically seen (usually Camellia japonica and often because it's been sheared, also known as torture).|
|I love the elegant simplicity of these flowers, as opposed to the dramatic opulence or flouncy ruffles of many camellias. Even the dark green leaves are elegant and neat.|
|I started with a good shot so I'm trying to end with one, too!|
Until next time...