Prized by gardeners for their beauty in the landscape and by flower collectors who proudly display their colorful blooms in elaborate crystal bowls, Camellia japonicas are enjoying renewed popularity across the world.
Their classic-shaped flowers herald the spring, and each year new hybrid varieties are introduced to delight collectors everywhere.
Until now though, gardeners in colder climates could not enjoy these classic beauties because they couldn't survive the cold of winter. But all that has changed with the introduction of two new cold-hardy camellia series called Ice Angels and Ice Follies.
All the varieties in these series can tolerate temperatures down to -10 degrees.
Camellias were first introduced from Asia to the West in the early 18th Century by a Jesuit priest named George Karl Kamel, from whose name camellia is derived. Since then, plant hunters have been searching for camellia species growing wild in countries like China, Japan and throughout the Pacific Rim.
Growers then take these new plants and use them to create new hybrids for the home landscape, and one of the by-products of this breeding process are these new cold-hardy hybrids.
Deutzia is one of those plants that you look forward to every spring. Its delicate but colorful blooms herald warming temperatures and all the wonderful things that go with it. This is one of those deciduous shrubs whose spring color is well worth the wait after being dormant for the winter.
Deutzias are casual plants that can fit in any landscape. They blend equally well in manicured gardens and in wild gardens planted with natives. The smaller varieties can be used as a ground cover or along the front edge of a shrub border for a field of bright green foliage. The taller varieties provide exceptional color as a secondary focal point for foundation planting, blending well into planting islands and along fence lines.
They are untroubled by poor soils and require little or no maintenance. They develop a fairly deep and extensive root system if watered regularly in their first few growing seasons, becoming quite drought tolerant after that. All they require is a few regular feedings per year, and a yearly pruning after flowering if a more manicured effect is desired.
Most deutzias also display beautiful fall foliage color, turning rich shades of burgundy to plum-purple in autumn. They are perfect for all outdoor living spaces, and their pendulous flower clusters can be enjoyed in any part of the garden. But don't wait too long to plant. Unfortunately their beautiful blooms don't last forever!