Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Impossible Survivor

She doesn't look like much.
May 23
But if you only knew her story, you would know better.  She's a survivor.

Yes, this plant is a "she". Not a botanical "she". Just a she.

 Her name is April Rose, and she is a camilla.

Camillas are plants popular in the Southern United States extending to areas such as Long Island, in New York State.  They are grown in Great Britain, and other parts of the world where it doesn't get much below zero (Celsius, that is) because they can't tolerate too much cold.

I love camillas because they bloom in the winter.  Well, many of them do.  Their flowers are beautiful.  In upstate New York, nothing blooms in the winter, except maybe ice and snow crystals

Never met a camilla? If you drink tea (not herbal tea) you are familiar with one type of camilla, one grown for its leaves.

Living in zone 5b upstate New York, near Binghamton, I despaired of ever being able to have a camilla in my backyard.   Then, last year, we found a nursery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that specializes in what they call hardy camillas.  They are hardy - for camillas.

Hardy as in being able to survive a winter in Chapel Hill where it went down to -8 (-22C) last year.
So, in 2015, we bought our April Rose and brought it home.  We planted it in a sheltered area in our backyard.  And, lo and behold, we had one of the mildest Decembers and early Januaries on record.
Until, suddenly, it went down to -10 F.  Would the flower buds, already formed, survive?

They did.  The plant, and the buds, survived the rest of the winter.

The buds started to open in April.  But one day, we came home, and the buds were scattered all over the ground.  Heartbroken, we protected the plant, and the few buds it had left, with a fence.
April 23
 No, I didn't blog about that.  I still don't know what animal did that to April Rose.

In the past few days, the remaining buds started to open.  The flowers are smaller than they should be, and it is possible we needed to fertilize the plant (we did so last week).

But my April Rose has done the impossible.

She survived.

She is blooming.

In upstate New York.

She has done the impossible.


  1. Around here, it would have been the wind that could denude your camilla...

  2. That's a great story. She's a survivor.

  3. Ho is this the famous chamomile tea?

  4. The Camilla is an interesting plant and it's interesting to read about its origin:)

  5. They're nothing but animals! Take the good with the bad.

  6. What a beautiful bloom. Unfortunately I knew a real live Camilla who though beautiful was hard as nails

  7. Beautiful, April Rose :) There is a joy in seeing them bloom and fight odds. Isn't it?


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