Christmas Cheer is the first of the traditional Rhododendrons to flower in the year but under its own steam, it will miss Christmas by just over a month. Early February onwards, large coral pink buds will open slowly to long lasting white flowers throughout February and into March, marking the beginning of spring along with camellias, daffodils and crocuses.
One of the great values of this early flowering variety is as the weather is cooler, the flowers come out much more slowly and also slightly in succession. Again with the cooler temperatures the flowers once out will bloom for longer period of time to give you more enjoyment.
People worry about the frost but the only time the frost will affect the flowers is if you can see the open buds or flowers yourself. So when in bud there is no need to be concerned but as soon as you see the pink and white petals, if there is going to be a frost, just cover the plant with some fleece carefully draped over the top for the night and you will be fine. This is a very hardy, low maintenance plant.
Spring flowers are a real delight, especially after the dark days of winter. Bright crocus, deliciously scented winter honeysuckle, carpets of nodding hellebores and tiny fragrant sarcococca flowers all light up the garden but one flower that stands out amongst them all is the camellia. People will admire the majority of flowers and gardens on the go as they stroll past but stop and stare at exotic camellias in bloom.
Their show starts well before Christmas in September when conspicuous flower buds form and you watch them in expectation for five months. They gradually begin to swell. in late January and then flower from late February onwards.
As they flower early, the buds slowly open up revealing their flowers with a degree of succession as opposed to all at one moment. This can be a form of slow pain if you are desperate to see them or long lasting delight.
They will flower for at least a month, all be it with a bit of colour explosion towards the end as a grand finale, so you definitely get value for colour.
There are some lovely colours to choose from; whites, creams, pinks and reds in various styles of flower from single rows of petals, rather like a rose, to multiple rows of flower petals and peony shaped flowers.