Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Backyard Nature Wednesday: My poor confused camellia

Groundhog Day in our area dawned gray and cloudy. No groundhog saw his shadow here. I guess that means our "winter" is just about over. The winter that never was.

In early February, our thermometers have yet to record any freezing temperatures. Some areas of the yard have experienced very light frost, but for the most part, my garden has been frost-free. This has led to a lot of confusion among my plants.

For example, I have this old camellia named 'Mabel Bryan' that has lived in my yard for seven years. It has always bloomed in late March or early April, but for the last few weeks, I've been watching these fat buds grow.

And this week, the buds opened up, assuming, I think, that it was several weeks later into the season than the calendar shows.

It's always a treat to see these bright blooms, but it is a little unsettling to have them so early.

Many other plants in the yard have fat buds already when they would normally still be dormant, and, of course, some have not had any dormancy at all. A gardener has to wonder just what that will mean, long-term, for her garden.

For one thing, I would anticipate a major battle with insects this summer because there's been no weather cold enough to kill them off. More food for the toads, anoles, and birds, I suppose. Nature gives as well as takes away. It's all about balance. 

15 comments:

  1. The first camellia to bloom here is usually out late January. It was over a month early. So is the one that follows it. I am expecting molluscmageddon. And the forecasters here were predicting the coldest winter for 100 years or something stupid like that.

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    1. Ah, yes, the snail and slug brigade. They are not usually such a problem in my garden but they may well be this summer. The forecasters had predicted a colder than usual winter for us, too. Boy, did they ever miss it!

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  2. Well, I for once can't complain about this benign winter. Last year I just couldn't take one more winter storm; it was one every other day. I was fed up and willing to move South with no money in my pockets.
    I understand your concern about early blooms. I've been wondering if trees will know when it's time to bloom this spring.

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  3. I can't complain about the camellias; they look lovely.

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    1. Yes, winter in your area was really awful last year, so perhaps this milder one is your reward for surviving it! I would expect most plants in my area to follow the example of the camellia and start their blooming and leafing cycle earlier than usual.

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  4. I love camellias! Sadly, though I have tried twice, the climate in my yard does not support them. Too hot, dry and windy in the summers. Luckily we have a camellia forest in a nearby arboretum called The Descanso Gardens. Good luck with your predicted bugs. I would love a post on how you handle them because I would bet you don't use chemical pesticides.

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    1. You're right. I depend on my army of reptiles, amphibians, birds, and beneficial insects to take care of the bad bugs. I suspect they will have their work cut out for them this summer.

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  5. Good job on this thank you for sharing

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  6. I think there are a lot of season confused plants around this year, my camellias are actually bang on time, the early Takanini started in October as it should and I have a succession of camellias until the last one finishes in May. But I have other plants that have started well early, some of my lilies are 6 inches up out of ground already, that’s like 3 months early!

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    1. And who can blame them? According to the way the Earth must feel to them, spring has sprung!

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  7. Your camelia is beautiful, Dorothy, but it is confusing for our gardens this year. The groundhog forecast an early spring here, too. The snow from our one and only snowstorm is melting, so time for me to go outside and see what is underneath. I'm sure I'll find some puzzled plants. P. x

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    1. Yes, and it's not only the plants that are confused. Some of us gardeners are pretty puzzled, too. What season exactly are we in?

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  8. There is my April Rose camilla that I (living in a solid zone 5 area) took a chance on - I bought it this past spring in a camilla nursery in Wake Forest, NC. It's supposed to be one of the most hardy camillas. Well - after our almost non winter, it is expected to get to -5 this weekend, with winds. At least there will be snow cover by then. I'm really going to hold my breath, and wish I was in your yard instead. The weather is so confused everywhere. Needless to say, not good. I am also dreading the coming summer.

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    1. Whoa! Let's don't even think about summer! It usually starts here around April.

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