Camellias in your New England garden

Camellias: They come in four main types and, with a bit of planning, can add a touch of beautiful colour to your garden from April until August.
Camellias: They come in four main types and, with a bit of planning, can add a touch of beautiful colour to your garden from April until August.

Now that we are past the winter solstice, things are starting to stir as plants that respond to increasing day length start to bud and birds start to think about nest building.

Being diligent with your weed patrols now will make for less work when the warmer temperatures really start to take effect.

Camellias are in bloom across the region at the moment. There are four main types of camellia; sasanquas, japonicas, reticulatas and sinensis.

The sinensis type is not regularly seen in gardens but the leaves are harvested for the tea for your morning cuppa, so this type is more often seen in Australian kitchens than in the garden!

The sasanqua types are more hardy and can generally take more sun than the japonicas or reticulatas. They also flower earlier, starting in late autumn.

With a mix of camellia types and varieties you can have flowers from April until August.

Winter is an excellent time for cleaning out ponds.

All camellias like an acid, humus-rich soil and reward well during the colder months for not a great amount of effort. Float a single perfect camellia flower in a decorative bowl of water to add some extra colour indoors.

Winter is an excellent time for cleaning out ponds. Remove any fallen leaves and any yellowing leaves from plants like waterlilies at the same time.

Cut back dead growth on marginal plants and pondside perennials and divide them if necessary.

Pool debris and unwanted aquatic plants are great in the compost heap but make sure water creatures have escaped from it first. Leave clumps by the side of the pond for a few days so any wildlife hiding in the clumps can return to the water.

Many water plants can be invasive so make sure that you dispose of the plants you remove appropriately so that they don't become weeds in our native system.

If you have fish in your pond, they will be less active during the colder months so reduce the amount of food so none goes to waste and rots in the water.

The Armidale Garden Club’s next meeting is on Thursday, July 27 at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall, starting at 6pm. Just bring yourself, your questions and your smile – everyone is welcome!