Camellia sasanqua not only offer attractive winter flowers but they help attract hummingbirds to a garden. Wear gloves and a long-sleeve shirt when you cut off the browning lower leaves of the Chinese Windmill Palm. Cover the hose bibs at your house each winter so you don't end up with an ice- skating pond in...
Plant Camellia sasanqua for more reasons than aesthetics.
In the past I grew Camellia sasanqua for the attractive winter flowers that contrast so beautifully with the dark-green evergreen foliage.
Last winter, I discovered an exciting new reason to plant even more of them: Camellia sasanquas are magnets for the Anna’s Hummingbirds. The birds are after pollen, so if you want to attract them, select varieties with plenty of the pollen bearing golden stamens centered in the flower.
A few hummingbird favorites include “Apple Blossom” with single white, blushed pink petals, “Tanya” featuring deep rose pink blossoms, and my personal favorite “Yuletide” featuring masses of bright red blooms practically all winter long.
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Camellias require well-drained soil amended with plenty of compost. They also prefer acid soil so fertilize every March with organic Rhododendron food.
Besides planting your camellia in a location that allows you to view the hummingbirds from a window, be sure to choose a spot where it will experience plenty of sunshine.
They don’t want a baking hot spot, but unlike most other types of camellias that prefer shade, sasanquas require a sunny location in order to set plenty of blooms.
Remove unsightly palm fronds
We’re incredibly lucky to be able to grow the spectacular Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese Windmill Palm) in the Pacific Northwest because they provide a unique tropical flair to our gardens and, come December, it’s particularly refreshing to be transported to the tropics!
The single trunked tree is hardy to about 10 degrees and can grow to over 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
As these trees grow, the older, lower leaves turn brown and ugly. These dead leaves may eventually fall, but they can hang on for a long time giving the tree an untidy look. Keep your specimen looking great by removing unattractive lower leaves by cutting the leaf stalk off about an inch from where it attaches to the fiber-covered trunk.
Make sure you leave the same length of stalk on each cut to give the trunk a uniform, pattern. Wear thick leather gloves and long sleeves for this job. The leaf stalks are covered with sharp spines that definitely aren’t pruner-friendly if you aren’t prepared for them.
Cover your hose bibs
I didn’t use to worry about covering hose bibs. That was before the freezing day in winter when I got a call at work from a neighbor telling me I had an ice-skating rink in my back yard. Covering your hose bib is a simple job that can save you a big expense, both in water and plumbing fees.
While you’re at it, roll up the hose and store it in the basement or unheated garage for the winter. The best way to shorten the life of a hose is to subject it to freezing and thawing all winter long. By the way, unless you want to put on a very entertaining show for your neighbors, if your hose is frozen, wait until it thaws out before you try to coil it up.
Ciscoe Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org. “Gardening with Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.