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The Japanese Camellia

by Ewa Nowogorski

They look almost like roses from afar, they are often called the rose of winter. But they grow taller and are more resilient to weather extremes, with longer bloom times. Camellias are one of Japan’s most beloved flowers, and almost every house with a garden keeps at least one variant of this floral bush. Its beautiful foliage has attracted cultivators in Japan, Korea, and China for hundreds of years. It is mentioned in books and poetry, and countless artists have painted, drawn, embroidered, printed, and photographed this flower.

They live for an extremely long time, and some camellia plants in the emperor’s garden are said to be over 500 years old. They often bloom in the winter, and even when everything else is dead and bare, these flowers will add a vibrant explosion of color ranging from white to wine red on the roads. The flowers will bloom for up to 4 weeks from late winter to early spring, almost calling all other plants around it to life.

There are literally thousands of varieties of the Japanese camellia, and you can easily find a young bush at a plant nursery. Many old people buy them and raise them in their garden. They can grow very tall and full, and they give wonderful coverage to a garden, giving it more privacy from the busy roads next to it.

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