Plant of the month for February is…
Camellia japonica 'Akashigata' syn C.j.'Lady Clare'
From Japan in 1859. An old but very reliable variety. Named 'Lady Clare' when first imported from Belgium but has now reverted back to its japanese original name.
The deep rose semi-double flowers emerge from large buds and last for weeks, very tolerant of the weather. The glossy dark green foliage is as much of a feature when choosing this plant as are the flowers. Popular with florists, the foliage can be picked when the flower buds are just showing colour, they will then open slowly in the bouquet. The graceful arching habit of the shrub is also a redeeming feature. Can form a large, layered, bush so allow room when planting.
Ours are at least a month early flowering this year despite the recent cold snap late January early Feb.