Camellia 'Robiraki' Summer Beauty™
Summer Beauty Camellia. This is the first plant that I purchased in Japan on my first visit there a number of years ago. It was at the Chelsea Garden Center which is on the roof of an exclusive department store in downtown Tokyo. It was several years later that I learned the origin of this cultivar. This selection is the first successful cross between C. japonica and C. sinensis. The flowers are not impressive by American standards because of their small size, but the unique quality of this plant is that it begins to flower in July and continues through into November. It is a single pink with yellow stamens and the flowers are quite fragrant. The flowering with this selection is much earlier than either parent. The leaves more closely resemble those of C. japonica than C. sinensis. Its growth habit is quite appealing also in that it has a compact spreading form. The ultimate size is not known, but I saw the largest plant at the home of the breeder near Niigata on the west coast of Japan and it was only about 2' high with a 3' spread. Although I do believe that it will get somewhat larger than this with time, its broader than high growth habit makes it very useful in the landscape. As with most Camellias, it grows well in part shade, but morning sun and afternoon shade is sufficient. Always remember, plant Camellias shallow. I have been asked to diagnose Camellia problems on numerous occasions, and 90% of the time a plant was planted too deeply. And give them good drainage. They are a very long lived plant. One of the four original Camellia plants brought into American by Andre Michaux, chief gardener of King Louis XVI of France, and given to his friend Henry Middleton (who served as president of the Continental Congress) is still alive at Middleton Gardens just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. His son Arthur Middleton was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.