Hi, I’m Liz from Lexington, Kentucky, USA and as I don’t have a blog Mike has kindly offered to include my tree following posts here, for which I’m most grateful.
I admit that my tree, a Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia), was an impulse buy. Three years ago my daughter took me to a favourite local garden nursery for a Mother’s Day treat. There standing close to the entrance was this lovely plant in a pot. It had shiny leaves and the most exquisite pinkish-white buds about to burst into bloom. It said “I’m yours” and so it was to be.
This tree along with it’s relatives, the Franklinia (named for Ben) and camellia, belong to the tea family. The camellia-like flowers they share only bloom for a short period of time, but this tree has other features to recommend it such as a lovely fall (autumn) colour.
It’s in a bed in my back garden and now stands well over five feet high, and is surounded by a healthy stand of wild onions that will be pulled when the ground thaws. I’m not sure how old it is – perhaps others will know when Stewartias first bloom. I would hazard a guess that it’s no more than six years old. It has seen three winters pass in wildly variable temperatures and so far, so good.
This picture shows it in January being inspected by Dulcie, one of my two dogs. Click on the picture to see a larger image.
In doing my homework I found an interesting tidbit on the Polly Hill Arboretum website. The Stewartia was named for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute and one of the founders of Kew Gardens. In his botanical classification, Carl Linnaeus misspelled the name, and there are some who have now taken up the cause to have it classified correctly.
My thanks to Mike for letting me guest post, and to Lucy for hosting Tree Following.