It’s time for TEA! We currently have some fine specimens of Camellia sinensis (£10.80 in 2 litre pots), from which tea is harvested. These are autumn-flowering evergreen shrubs with deliciously scented flowers. Slow-growing, they are generally trimmed to a maximum of 2m (6′) to make them easy to harvest. The fresh young leaves in spring are those best used for your tea!
So important to the morale of the British, it’s said that Winston Churchill developed plans to grow tea in the UK during the war, when overseas supplies were threatened. In the end it wasn’t necessary to put the plans into action but commercial tea plants do exist here today, including sites in Cornwall and Scotland.
Plant Camellia sinensis in a sheltered spot in moist but well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil. (Use ericaceous compost if you are growing them in containers). They prefer partial shade, but avoid east-facing sites as the early morning sun can damage the leaves and flowers. A west or south-west facing spot is ideal. Make sure established plants are kept moist in dry weather.
Ornamental camellias (in variety) are also looking good at the moment. We have a good selection of bushy plants (100-120cm/3′-4′) in 3 litre pots – full of bud and just £12.99.
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (1.5 litre pot) JUST £7.99
If you love scented shrubs then the compact evergreen, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is a must for the garden. The leathery dark green leaves are narrowly edged with yellow and in late winter/early spring it produces clusters of fragrant purplish-pink flowers. Be sure to plant it where the flowers and fragrance may be fully appreciated. Ideal in a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade. Suitable for all moist but well-drained soils. (Toxic if ingested/sap may irritate skin.)