My winter roses

camellia-1-280This being August, it’s still winter. Yet there’s plenty of flowers: the wattle is out, the jonquils are in full bloom and the first daffodil has opened to the spring-like warmth of the sun.

Unfortunately it’s woken up the snakes too, as I have seen my first black snake — sunning itself on very short grass in the orchard where I had gone to give the citrus an overdue dose of seaweed spray. They didn’t get it; I’ll try again in the morning when it’s too cool for sunbaking — I hope.

I’ve also seen the first Welcome Swallow dashing about in the sky over my clearing, although I don’t yet know where they’re going to nest this year.

But even before this warm spell of weather, one of my young camellias has been putting out glorious red buds amongst its dark green and glossy foliage – so unlike the bush behind it. Grown from cuttings taken from camellia trees that were higher than the old house that they surrounded, this red one has done best of all here, even in this unimproved soil where most plants turn yellow.


It’s especially valued by me because it’s an old variety, and because as the buds unfurl they look like roses before they fully open to show their central stamen cluster. And to have roses is rare here because the possums eat them, buds and leaves and thorns and all.

I’m almost afraid to say that they don’t eat camellias — in case I jinx such a glorious gift and they start munching on my beautiful winter roses.

If only they had a scent I’d pull out all the poor twisted twigs that the possums made of my rose bushes, and give up hope of a bloom in summer.

9 thoughts on “My winter roses”

  1. Well, I am for sure one of your camelia lovers. My garden is filled with camelias, and none over twelve years old, which is how long I have been back in my home state. They do well where I am and even though they are messy , the are beautiful. Since we are late summer here it will be quite a while before I see such a lovely blossom. Enjoy them!!! Thanks for such a colorful post!! DWG

  2. Hi Monica & Neville over there in Mudgee, home of the stunning Mudgee wattle! The camellia seems too good to be true here, to proper garden-ish!

  3. Sharyn, the camellia is beautiful, one of my favourite flowers.
    We liked your report on your Mudgee trip, Norman received some good exposure.

  4. Glad to see so many camellia lovers out there. My mother didn’t like them because they are so ‘messy’, dropping flowers everywhere. My sweet peas (self-sown) have just come up Margaret: pity about your chooks taking a fancy to them. I love the perfume of old fashioned sweet peas.
    I know from your web site that you love peonies too Denis. Haven’t noticed any honeyeaters yet on the camellias but will keep an eye out.
    And Fleur, I can’t imagine camellias in an arid environment; they cope with heavy soil here and lots of rain, so soggy soil often. They must be very adaptable – for which we are all grateful.

  5. Hello Sharyn
    Glorious camellia and isn’t red a wonderful colour in a winter garden!
    No possums eating tender rose shoots but my chooks have made short work of the sweet pea buds. It takes all kinds……

  6. They’re all beautiful Sharyn! Lets hope the possums stay away! Camellias are an old favourite of mine – the whites mainly – my darling old Nana used to have them flowering stunningly at the station – often the only colour (other than red dirt) for miles around. I could never understand how they bloomed so beautifully in the heat!

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