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If you could have just one book on camellias

Posted by donnabaskets 7b-8, MS (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 21, 08 at 16:13

What would it be? I love pretty pictures, but I want good information on growing practices, propagation, maintenance, and design ideas too.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Try looking into any of these and then choose the one you most like. Some may be hard to find.

The Camellia. By David L. Feathers

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Camellias. By Stirling Macoboy

The Camellia Story. By Tom Durrant

Camellia Culture. By E. C. Tourje

Camellias. The complete guide to their cultivation and use. By Jennifer Trehane

Camellias. A practical gardening guide. By Jim Rolfe

Beyond the Camellia Belt, Cultivating and Gardening with Cold-Hardy Camellias. By William Ackerman.

Here is a link that might be useful: Another source: American Camellia Society's Website

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Thanks Luis. I found your list informative. I have an additional book, a new one by Jennifer Trehane 'Camellias The Garden Encyclopedia'. Living here in the south, I am wondering if anyone has the three vol. of 'Southern Camellias'. They would have to be wonderful since being a garden book 'addict', there is not much room left on my shelves. Does anyone have the Field Guide? I would think this would be handy when shopping for camellias.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 23, 08 at 22:20

The Trehane book is British so there are various kinds commercially important here that aren't mentioned, plus there is the annoying lack of cross-references. If you try to look up one under a synonym prevalent in North American commerce that she does not use as the main entry, and you don't know which name she is listing it under instead you won't be able to find it very easily.

Some highly prevalent kinds have multiple synonyms, with a synonym being the one the plant is traded under in North America. It would be nice if major suppliers were using the preferred cultivar names, but they aren't for a number of varieties.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Thank you for the list, luis, and all. I have added several of them to my Christmas list, and look forward to cold winter evenings learning more. I also added japonica, C.M. Wilson, to my wish list. Both my daughters are in graduate school in Fort Worth and I am hoping they might be able to track it down at one of the big city garden centers. Any suggestions on which, Luis?

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Hello, Donna. I tend to see a more varied selection of camellias at Calloways outlets; try (817) 923-9979 on Hulen Street. Their main supplier for camellias is Monrovia so, if you see C.M.W. at then it is possible they could easily special order it for you.

The only problem with Calloways is that they were not very good special ordering for me 4-5 years ago. I then tried to get a non-camellia plant this way and they kept loosing the order (maybe things have changed). It is a good retailer though.

I need to stop by Calloway's to see if 'new' camellia shipments have arrived. It is that time of the season.
Lowe's already has their new supply of camellias but I found the number of varieties small. It seems like 80% of the selection was all Yuletide Camellias! Of course, they generally do not offer plants with small sales volume. I have not tried to special order through Lowe's.

Over in Dallas, North Haven Gardens (214) 360-1556 and Nicholson Hardie (214) 357-4674 tend to special order so much more. Doing that seems to be a large piece of the pie for them. So if Calloway's does not work out then check those two.

An unknown in this area is Redentas Garden, a smaller local outfit that I do not frequent much. I have seen camellias at their Arlington location (817) 451-2149. I have purchased some good roses and hydrangeas from them last year but have not inquired about special ordering. I do not recall which varieties they had last year but I may stop by this weekend to check them out. It has been too long since I went to their store and the only one closer to me was closed/moved 2 years ago.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Donna, I ran into some information that might be helpful on your quest. is a wholesaler clearinghouse website and it has a page listing nurseries that can provide C M Wilson to your local nurseries (I assume your local nursery has to contact these two other wholesalers):

Chambers Tree Farm And Nursery in LA: 318-715-1313

Green Nurseries in AL: 251-928-8469

Here is a link that might be useful: Wholesale Nursery Growers Providing CMWilson

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

It's not a book, but it's just as good - visit - a non profit organization that provides lots of camellia information. They have a great photo gallery, forum and website

Here is a link that might be useful: Camelliaweb

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

Wow. Thanks to you all. Luis, the nurseries and phone numbers will be a huge help. I will give them a call tomorrow, so my girls will know where to go. You're a peach to go to so much trouble.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

No camelliaphile should be without copies of the Gerbing and Hume books on the camellia, published in the 1950's. One of my copies was discarded by the local public library and the others bought from used/antiquarian book dealers on the American Book Exchange (

Gerbing, Gustav George. _Camellias_. St.
Augustine, FL: The Record Press, 1950.

Gerbing's work is filled with beautiful, full-color, full-page illustrations, each with a facing page of expert commentary on the cultural requirements of the variety as well as his observations of its performance in his Fernandina, FL, garden. He covers many of the antique, or heritage, varieties as well as some of the better seedlings he selected and propagated from his North Florida camellia garden.

Hume, H. Harold. _Camellias in America_. Rev. ed.
Harrisburg, PA: J. Horace McFarland Company, 1955.

Hume includes scores of superb, full-page, full-color japonica and sasanqua illustrations. The illustrations are so good that they are suitable for matting and framing. Affiliated with the University of Florida, Hume was, no doubt, the leading American academic authority on the genus _Camellia_ of his day. He writing style is clear and suitable to the layperson. His cultural knowledge of the camellia is vast.

__________. _Camellias: Kinds and Culture_. New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1951.

This book has fewer full-color illustrations than _Camellias in America_, and they are of poorer quality, especially after fifty-seven years. However, Hume's descriptions of the leading japonica and sasanqua cultivars of his day are outstanding. This book is also valuable because of its several chapters focusing on the history of the camellia in Europe and North America. He discusses a variety of propagation methods in other chapters. Hume provides information on the numerous early nineteenth-century camelliaphiles in Boston, MA, but regrettably, fails to mention Andre Michaux's introduction of the camellia to Middleton Place Gardens in Charleston in 1786 or Louis LeConte's work with camellias at the LeConte Botanical Garden in Liberty County, GA, in the eighteen-tens and eighteen-teens. Michaux's gift of four camellias to Arthur (Or was it Henry?) Middleton mark the advent of American camellia culture. At least one of those four camellias is still growing at Middleton Place, well over two centuries after it was planted.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 2, 08 at 17:14

I searched Camelliaweb for two cultivars currently being produced and distributed by a large wholesale company and got no hits. It does not even have a heading in the species section for the species that one of the cultivars is supposed to belong to. So, I don't know about it being just as good as a book.

RE: If you could have just one book on camellias

If you want to learn, then with out question the book you want is CAMELLIA CULTURE edited by E.C. Tourje , you probably will never come close to finding another book like it. It was published by the southern california camellia society and is the work of many of the countrys best minds. Dr. Homeyer gave me his personal copy a couple years before he died and told me as he handed it to me "follow what this book says and you will never go wrong with camellias" & he was right.He said it is the "Bible" for camellias(still revelant today). You can find them used on the web for about $10. But if you want pretty color photos of flowers then this is not the book for you. Good luck

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