Monday, April 28, 2008

Camellia 'Single Red'

Years ago I somewhere saw a glorious red Camellia japonica cultivar in full bloom. When I asked about the name, I thought I heard 'Korean Red'. That was enough to start the search. It took a while, but eventually I tracked down a plant labeled 'Korean Red' and brought it home and planted it in triumph. All winter I watched the buds with growing anticipation. The buds survived the winter and survived the deer - and opened as some pink, double-flowered camellia.

Early this year a budded plant arrived from Woodlanders under the name 'Single Red'; the catalog description mentions Korea, and the illustration said "that's the plant!". When the plant bloomed last week, I could not have been more pleased: it's just what I want.

While visiting a friend's garden last week I happened to mention this Camellia 'Single Red' and my story of 'Korean Red'. As things turned out, there is an established plant of 'Korean Red' in that garden. I could see that 'Korean Red' and 'Single Red' are not the same: the flower color of 'Single Red' is a darker, more saturated red and the anthers form a more prominent mass.

At this point, I'm glad that I did not successfully acquire a plant of 'Korean Red' years ago, otherwise I might never have discovered 'Single Red'.

Red camellias in the snow are one of the loveliest sights a garden can provide.

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