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Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Yuletide Camellia Bloom

Scientific name: Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Common names: Yuletide camellia, Christmas camellia

Family: Theaceae

Nativity: Camellia species are from Asia, but this hybrid came from a chance seedling that first bloomed in 1959 at Nuccio’s Nurseries, Altadena, CA, USA. (International Camellia Society Registry)

Location: Oakleaf Woods, Charlotte, NC

Date: December 9, 2015

Notes: Usually these shrubs are covered with flowers in November and December, but mine doesn’t have many blooms this year. Maybe it was all the rain we had that produced lots of leaves at the expense of buds? It is still young, but beginning to look quite lush. Camellias like a spot under a large shade tree, but they are adaptable to a range of conditions. The main thing to remember, I was once told by a camellia aficionado, is to plant them slightly above ground level, mounding soil slightly to cover the roots. Drainage is better that way and the roots can get more air. Camellias bloom from fall to spring, which makes the flowers especially welcome. And Yuletide’s bright red blooms with gold stamens and dark evergreen leaves — how much more perfect can a shrub be this time of year?

Nepenthes ‘Lady Luck’

Nepenthes Lady Luck 1

 

Scientific name: Nepenthes ‘Lady Luck’

Common names: pitcher plant, monkey cups

Family: Nepenthaceae

Nativity: Asia

Location: Houseplant at Oakleaf Woods

Date: November 12, 2015

Notes: Lady Luck’s parents are from the Philippine highlands (N. ventricosa) and the islands of Southeast Asia (N. ampullaria). It is reported to have hybrid vigor and be adaptable to more conditions than either parent. I have had my plant for several months now, and except for an adjustment period during which most of the existing pitchers dried up, I’ve had no problems. I’m guessing the humidity level in my house was much lower than it was used to at the nursery. Even so, it continued to rapidly produce new pitchers and seems to like my window where it gets direct sun for a couple of hours a day, even though most recommendations are that it be protected from that. I do keep the soil moist, which might give it a little more sun tolerance.

Rudbeckia laciniata

Green-headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)

Scientific name: Rudbeckia laciniata Linnaeus

Common names: Cutleaf Coneflower, Green-headed Coneflower, Sochan

Family: Asteraceae

Nativity: North America

Location: Oakleaf Woods, Charlotte, NC, USA

Date: August 25, 2015

Notes: Good plant for dry shade where it will seed around easily by itself to fill in gaps between shrubs, but it is very adaptable to varying levels of sun and moisture.

Host plant for silvery checkerspot butterfly caterpillars. Goldfinches enjoy the seeds in Fall.

Called sochan by the Cherokee and eaten as greens to maintain health.

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