Remember the character “Japonica” on “That’ll Be The Day” which ran I think on ABC? Sitcom. It was back in, what was it, 2006? 2007? Tuesday nights 7:30. Then it moved to Monday nights eight o’clock. Then it got cancelled. I think so. I don’t have the exact details, but you can look it up. I guess half a season is better than no season at all.
This is Camellia japonica. Around here we just call it “Japonica”. Other than that there is no connection whatever to that TV show character. I know where this is going. Japonica was the one who looked a little funny, never got enough teddy bears, and kept complaining that he just wasn’t ready for spring. “Japonica, why’s you always sittin there on that sofa?”
Then he’d hang up. “This is the plant most gardeners have in mind when they speak of camellias,” somebody in the Sunset Western Garden Book, Seventh Edition, says. I would say that is wrong. This is the flower that lasts but a moment then is gone for another year. The shrub sticks around, but not the flowers. More than 3000 varieties of Camellia. This has been one of them.
Japonica flowers and buds. Perhaps they are in the crucible of time. It’s the colour. Depending on the strain the flowers can be pink, red, white or orange. Some strains, like this one, bloom early. Others not so early. Now we know.
Japonica flowers courtesy M M H Nicol and C S Nicol.
Have yourself a happy St. Patrick’s Day too.