Winter is a great time to be in the garden, and there are a wide selection of flowering shrubs to brighten any corner. Here we have an early flowering Camellia, singing it's heart out to us on these cold mornings. The flowering of this shrub is not as early as you might expect given that the majority of Camellias are known to flower in spring.
This is Camellia x williamsii 'Mary Christian' and naturally flowers any time from January onwards, even in the coldest weather. The x williamsii hybrids were bred (by J.C Williams at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall),for their early flowering qualities as well as the beauty of their flowers, this cultivar first being bred in 1942. They are also extremely robust. This fine specimen sits proudly to one side of the croquet lawn by the Lily Pond, and will flower for several weeks.
These early flowering Camellias are relatively easy to look after, provided that they have an acidic soil, reasonable drainage and a good mulch to keep their roots cool in summer. Give one of these a try, and it will brighten up your cold winter months for years to come.