Nature doles out some amazing colors. When my Taylor’s Pink Perfection camellia began to bloom for the first time, I found its blush exuberant, unapologetic and very reminiscent of a hue I’d come across before: the lipstick color of my fourth grade teacher Miss Wells.
In my recollection, Miss Wells and Delta Burke are now the same person. When Miss Wells wanted your attention (read disciplinary action), she’d lean over your desk placing her well-manicured hand on your shoulder, and zero in, her lips to your ear, and politely, albeit sternly, in the most lilting of southern accents say, “May I please have a word with you, [insert child’s first and last name]?” Trouble was, she would have many words with the pupil and always win the argument.
I had a theory that her weapons-grade perfume* was a numbing agent used to lull kids into a semi-lucid, obedient state, but that’s another story. Because she insisted on unflinching eye contact (her form of a Vulcan mind meld), I was forced to behold the brightest shade of pink lipstick known to man. And now that I’ve seen this camellia, I can say it’s also known to nature.
If you’d like to know more about my favorite florid flirt, I’ve posted information below:
Taylor’s Pink Perfection Camellia: Information from Squak Mt. Greenhouses & Nursery
Height: 10 feet
Spread: 8 feet
Hardiness Zone: 7
Other Names: x saluenensis
Lustrous evergreen foliage cover this upright shrub; masses of semi-double pink flowers bloom over a long period, beginning in late winter; provide rich, acidic, moist, well-drained soil
Taylor’s Perfection Camellia features showy shell pink round flowers with yellow eyes at the ends of the branches from late winter to early spring. It has dark green foliage. The glossy pointy leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Taylor’s Perfection Camellia is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.
This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Taylor’s Perfection Camellia is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
Taylor’s Perfection Camellia will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.
This shrub does best in partial shade to shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.
Taylor’s Perfection Camellia makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.
*weapons-grade perfume, is the indelible reference originally coined by my friend Mark Hoben.
Editor’s note: I first posted this story years ago, and I thought it was time to revisit it with updated photos and information.