Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It Was The Name That Got Me First~~

White By The Gate

I had to have it! 

White By The Gate (Camellia japonica)*


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine  that an acid loving camellia would find its way into my heart.  Or,  into the nearly neutral, poorly draining, often dry soil of Clay and Limestone!  I circled back around to it three or four times before it went into the cart.  I knew exactly where she would be planted!
 
The pure white double flowers and the deep green evergreen leaves  shown  on the tag were lovely.  She would be perfect in the  newly improved soil of the lower Garden of Benign Neglect.  Right by the garden gate.   A  white flowering evergreen would look beautiful there. It was going to  be very  important to make sure White was planted high (trunk base above the soil line) in moist, well draining soil that absolutely needed to be  kept  acidic.  It could be done.

She was covered in small buds when I brought her home.  The ground wasn't ready so White stayed in a sheltered place, safe from the deep frosts we've had these last few weeks.    I wanted to see those white blooms.  

But, something happened to make me wonder what was going on with White~~

She's looking like a peony in bud

Her buds began to display a light pink and then a deeper pink colororation~~

She opened up her first flower to reveal

A beautiful double white flower with light pink striping~~Very lovely don't you think?  But, not the pure white that she was supposed to be!


Being a complete novice about camellias, my first thought was that she was mislabeled. Boy,  was I disappointed!  I really wanted  White By The Gate!

But, further reasearch revealed that White was simply doing what many camellias do.  She was sporting.  

Some camellias have an odd  habit of producing different coloured flowers on different parts of the same plant.
Trust me this is the same plant!

This  ‘sporting’  is not that unusual.  "Sporting is the way in which a plant reveals part of its genetic makeup or parentage."  Apparently, it's not unusual for White by The Gate to have a white flower with pink stripes.

But,  a pink flower with whitish stripes

and a white flower with pinkish stripes

on the same plant was quite  a surprise to me!

White and Pink By The Gate is quite lovely~~


But, I don't think it's really White By The Gate!  Or,  is it!  What do you think?  Is White Sporting or was she mislabeled?

Gail
 

59 comments:

  1. I don't know a bloomin thing about camillias. I do think this one is pretty with its different colored blossoms. I also like its deep green foilage.

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  2. I think she is lovely no matter what is going on, but I bet she is showing her parentage for sure. What an awesome bush! I'd buy it just for the variety-fuhget about all white evergreens. This is so much nicer and way more interesting. Good luck growing it! They aren't so very picky. You'll do fine with it.

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  3. I hate when the plants don't read their own tags. I think yours is sporting, which is what they do. Some will do it more than others. If you do not want the different colors, you may have to cut those branches off. I usually like it when they do this, unless none of the blooms come out as intended which has happened to me. But it is what it is.

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  4. I don't know, Gail, but I'm envious that you made a go of camellias in your limestone soil. She's lovely, whether white or pink.

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  5. Lisa, You are not alone...I have never grown them and know very little about their habits! ...and I really don't have the garden soil for this, but...she is a pretty flower!

    Gail

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  6. Tina, Well she is my first evergreen plant with white flowers! I don't grow any of the laurels! I've read they are difficult...But folks seem to grow them fine in this part of the world...We'll see. The flowers are pretty!
    I had planned on her lighting up a shady section of the garden...The pink certainly will!

    gail

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  7. Les,

    Thank you for answering the sporting question! it will be interesting to see if subsequent flowering is more of the same or if a whiter flower will show! I do like her multi-colored flowers.

    gail

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  8. Pam, It remains to be seen whether or not she can make it! But I figured it was worth the effort! Worse case scenario...she lives in a container...by the gate! Can you grow them in a container?

    Gail

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  9. Hi Gail, I don't know anything about Camellias. Roses sport too. Usually one branch will be different.

    I would much rather have the variety. Those pink and white blooms are lovely.
    Marnie

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  10. Marnie, I didn't know roses sported, that's interesting to know~~The pink on this camellia is my favorite pink.
    Gail

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  11. It's a nice surprise even if it wasn't exactly what you thought it should do! Beautiful flowers.

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  12. Dave,

    As surprises go, this one was a pleasant one! It is a pretty color.

    Gail

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  13. Holy Cow! That's the coolest thing ever;)

    What neat info. to learn, Gail! I think she's adorable...more than than--beautiful.

    I hope she will continue to do well for you. I love learning new things! Thanks:)

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  14. Good morning, Gail, I finally made it, cutting through the computer obstacles with a machete! Your camellia is beautiful, white or not. Can you live with the pink? If not maybe move her to another spot and look for a pure white one, in full bloom to be sure. Or another white blooming evergreen. Azaleas are the only ones I can think of offhand. Mrs. G.G. Gebring is the best white, IMHO. But there are probably others. No computer today for me. Hurry and thaw, earth!
    Frances

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  15. Jan,

    You're welcome and thank you! I think you could grow this one Jan...Your part of the garden probably has acidic soil....Unlike mine!

    gail

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  16. Frances,

    I can live with the pink! It was a surprise and I learned about sporting. Glad you were able to clean up the problems with your computer. it is going to be a great day in the garden! I see that no freezes are in our immediate forecast...YIPPEE! Have fun out there..and let us know what you do.

    gail

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  17. Gail, I'm like Lisa--I don't know a thing about camellias! But no matter her name, this is a beautiful plant! I would gladly take all the different color variations; in fact, I prefer the pink edging on the white blossom to a pure white one. I don't think we can grow camellias here in zone 5; too bad, because I would love to have one.

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  18. Gail, I'm not familiar with White by the Gate, but this camellia is beautiful.

    My grandfather gardened in limestone country too, in Southern Indiana. In fact there was a lime quarry about 5 miles from the house! The water tasted like lime (I loved it) and soft chalk deposits got all over everything. But he was able to grow a dogwood and some azaleas. He envied the dogwoods and azaleas in North Carolina so much that he had to try them.

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  19. The sporting sounds like a good theory. I doubt Camellias are propagated by seeds, like Hellebores, resulting in "strains" that occasionally produce flowers very different from the norm. If you are a purist, you could always cut off all the pink blooms and bring them inside.

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  20. Gail,
    I tell you what; If I were you I would go back and get the solid white one. I think you should pack that one up and send it to Prattville immediately. Jamie and I will dispose of it for you post haste! LOL Just kidding, I think it’s absolutely gorgeous! If I knew I could get one that does the same thing I would start searching for one today. I think it’s incredible.-- Randy

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  21. Breath Taking - I need to bookmark your page. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of gardening.

    Warm Wishes from my garden up north. Stop by sometime - the tea pot is on!

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  22. I have a white camillia and only have pure white blooms...I also have a couple of hot pink ones and they are only hot pink. Hmmm maybe you just have a unique one of a kind camillia that I must say is just too cool! Love all the different bloom colors on one plant! Kim

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  23. I just wrote a posting to be published on Mar. 16 of our neighbors Camellia and mentioned how I thought it looked like a peony! We saw the same thing from the buds :-)... Mistake with the labeling or not, she is a beauty and a real keeper! You are kind of getting two for the price of one. lol Good luck with her in the Garden of soon to be not so much neglect...

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  24. I hope that if you do plant it in the soil that you will let us know how it does. I love the blooms but my soil is also limestone. I love your blog and read it often.

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  25. What a surprise you had! The shrub certainly looks lovely with all those different flowers on it, though.

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  26. I wish I knew, Gail ... can't grow camellia here but I sure covet your White By The Gate (Camellia japonica) or whatever it is!

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  27. White pink by the gate, whatever you want to call it, she is definite a keeper

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  28. Well Gail....Oh dear.....I am a lover of white blooms....to the point that I am obsessive.....when I saw your bloom my heart nearly stopped beating.....and white by the gate was nearly mine.....I have to get one, where can I buy it......then you showed me tinges of pink...then lots of pink.....yes she is still beautiful and her lovliness will grow.
    BUT is she white by the gate, for me, no she isn't.
    If you are happy with pink and white then she is perfect.....if you wanted white by the gate, could you take her back and buy something else that really is white????

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  29. Very pretty, Gail. But it looks to me like a peony! ;-) I'm positive we can't grow camelias, but we can grow peonies. Have a great day!

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  30. She is very pretty if not very well behaved. No camellias here so no idea on sporting. Sometimes the surprises of nature are fun aren't they?

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  31. She is very pretty - white or not.
    I would think she has been misnamed or her propagation has suffered a hiccup!
    If you want a pure white one it would be better to buy one in flower. My Camellia "Contessa Lavinia Maggi" produces variations on pink and white stripes but never a pure white flower. It looks like yours will be mostly pink too.

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  32. i have to say i was so excited to see the all white. it is still so lovely but i would've wanted the white by the gate too. camellias are gorgeous and remind me of the peony. i planted three last year that i hope are going to bloom this year.

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  33. I inherited 4 Camelias from the previous owner. They grow very well in Clay with low/moderate water. I'm training them as little trees... One white (single-flower, fall blooming), one pink, two red (filled, winter/spring blooming). They never sport, unfortunately... I quite like what yours is doing.

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  34. Well, I don't know the answer. But the plant has such personality with its various colored blooms that you can't help but be enthralled by it. I have a crepe myrtle tree that does the same thing.
    Brenda

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  35. Gail, it is a lovely lady. A keeper for sure. I have a pink one & it's just finished blooming. About 2 months of continuous blooms. I really like mine.

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  36. Gail,

    I don't know camellias. I know how it is though when a flower blooms a different color from the label. Pretty, beautiful, but not in your plan. She's a keeper, but only you can decide where she fits into your color scheme.

    Cameron

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  37. Camellias are quite amazing.

    I haven't planted any myself but have benefited from lovely previous plantings now in two southern landscapes.

    Enjoy yours!

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  38. Gail .. I am very jealous of you for being able to have such an amazing shrub/flower in your wonderful garden .. it is beautiful !
    Now for this early morning question .. I haven't been able to log into Blotanical since yesterday .. I get the notice that "this account has been suspended" .. do you have that coming up too ? or is it just me ? .. I'm unraveling here because I am so busy getting quotes from contractors .. help ???

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  39. Looks like good "sport"smanship to me;-}
    But I understand. I love White by the Gate

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  40. Hi Gail, I was by here so quickly yesterday, I missed the point! Sorry. Sporting is a new term for me, too. I think it means "showing off." And I believe she's doing a good job of it! (Is there a male plant nearby?) ;-) I would like the plant any way it presented itself. The multi-staged blossoms would really be intriguing.

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  41. Good morning Gail, I'm no help with camellias, just know they're gorgeous! I hope Ms. White performs well for you. Whether she behaves and blooms in her proper color or not, she sure is pretty!

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  42. Those are beautiful!! They remind me just a bit of my peonies...I can't wait until those are blooming! Well, at this point, I can't wait until anything is blooming outside!

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  43. Gail,
    You have a sporty camellia there. :) Perhaps you could call it Surprise by the Gate, You Never Know by the
    Gate, I Cannot Believe It's Not White By the Gate, Changeable By the Gate,or Sporting By the Gate. :)

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  44. Gail, I have missed your wit! Love MN Garden's suggestions and would just love her for whatever she gives you. Can't wait to see photos of her in the GOBN.

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  45. My dears, I am away today and will catch up with everyone...I loved all your ideas and especially the new names for White! Have a great day...I just have to be outside..you'll see why!

    gail

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  46. I honestly couldn't say if she's properly labeled or not, but she's a beauty by the gate, no matter what colour. :)

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  47. Lovely flowers!
    We just got are first camellia the year before last and thought it was dying but now there are many buds on it so I have high hopes for it.
    You taught me a few things about them...now I know where to ask!
    Thanks,
    Patsi

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  48. I have to agree with the others, she's a beauty regardless. :) I'm adding one to my garden soon...now I have to go check out the nurseries tomorrow. ;)

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  49. Enchanting white beauty! I bet it is fragrant too.

    I wish you a sunny and happy weekend in the garden.

    xoxo Tyra

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  50. Gail,
    Love all the colors of the pinks and whites. I would probably prefer an all white to mixed colors. Wish I could help with what yours is for certain but I am not expert. I DO know I passed by a white one 3 times last week at the nursery... practicing such restraint.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

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  51. Oh Gail - what a delightful post - and although she is certainly lovely - if in my minds eye I had fixed on white camellia I might of been a tad disappointed to find she was a pink and white, or a white and pink, or just white camellia.
    Are you going to keep her in a large pot? When I had a clay garden I kept mine in a pot.

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  52. Firstly, it's really puzzling, this colour variation, and in so many different ways! Perhaps it was a strong breed, the first and pink one, just comes through regardless of what further cultivation they've subjected it to. Secondly, it's a lovely coincidence – I'm showing a white Camellia japonica noblissima on my blog now. Two minds, the same thought! Have a great day, Gail.

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  53. My knowledge is zilch when it comes to camelias other than what I learned from you all. In fact before I read the name of the flower, I thought it was a rose when I saw the photo. See? That's how bad I am. I can't tell the difference. I definitely know that it's such a treat to have two colors in the same plant!

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  54. Hi, Gail. Apparently this camellia is prone to genetic mutation (sometimes flushed pink, like yours, or sometimes producing a white flower with a red streak). Some will bloom pure white for years, then throw up a coloured flower, others will keep blooming in the 'sport' colours. When they do, the growers take a graft, and hey presto, you have a new camellia cultivar! (How about Camellia japonica 'Gail's Gate' as a name?') I'm not an expert on camellias, but I'm fairly sure it's a genetic mutation, and not a case of mislabelling.
    Best wishes, Victoria

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  55. Oh, Gail - the longer my two camellia plants stay alive here in alkaline clay, the more it seems their survival is pure luck!

    I wish my hot pink camellia would sport itself into a white with blushing edges! Is it possible that cold temperatures have an effect on the white buds? Sometimes buds of white gauras and white salvias open with a pink tinge if they're chilled when developing and flowers on my mini-roses look slightly different in different temperatures.

    Good luck with whatever camellia ends up by your gate.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  56. No camellias for me either Gail because of our alkaline soil. You are brave and industrious to treat the soil so she can survive. I wouldn't care what color the blooms were if I could grow one successfully, but "White by the Gate" would get me too. and people say "what's in a name?!!"

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  57. I know nothing about camellias, but yours is beautiful, as is every single one I've ever seen. Too bad we can't grow them here!

    That first photo looks so much like my English Rose 'Glamis Castle.'

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  58. I think that she knew you probably didn't have a place (or the patience to maintain) TWO camellias, so she figured she would give you the best of both worlds--white AND pink camellia blooms!

    :)

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  59. I love all of them,zhe white ones, the pink ones, the mixured. They all are lovely!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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