MAY 2018 | Nell Carr
CAMELLIAS BELONG to a huge group of shrubs and trees from the Orient. In addition to their ornamental value, they posses more practical uses for industry and society. Camellia sinensis is the tea plant whose extracts make the great universal reviver. Green tea is made from freshly cut tea leaves, while black tea is made from leaves which have been fermented.
The oil from seeds of C. sasanqua are used for textile purposes in the silk industry, and also in the manufacture of soap. But it is even more renowned for the beauty and hardiness of its many cultivars. C. sasanqua “Hiryu” has single deep red flowers in late autumn to spring. “Lucinda” has lolly pink semi-double flowers in very early spring. “Paradise Blush” (here photographed by Hayley Manning in the Visitor Information Centre), has pink buds which open to double white with pink edging. It flourishes on a south facing wall, beside a lawn where the June frosts remain day long. Unlike its relative C. japonica, C. sasanqua prefers an open, sunny position so long as it is not buffeted by harsh winds.
In the vegie garden Only onions may be sown in May, although shallot bulbs can go in this month. Red onions are preferable to brown, as they are so much dearer in the shops. Finely sliced, they are delicious, and quite decorative, in a salad.
Photo | Nell Carr