I saw your comment about growing fall blooming camellias in Louisville. I want to purchase an Ackerman camellia such as Ashton’s Ballet. I cannot find any in Louisville. I want a 5-gallon or larger. Can you help me?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Philip in Kentucky: Camellias may not be a staple plant for some garden centers/nurseries in our area, but there are camellias that will do well in our Kentucky gardens. The Ackerman hybrids that Dr. Ackerman developed at the U.S. National Arboretum are a great choice for Kentucky gardeners. ‘Ashton’s Ballet’ is a cross between C. sasquanqua ‘Shikishima’ and C. olifera ‘Plain Jane.’ It is a fall bloomer and produces light pink, double blooms. As for locating one, you will probably have better luck in the spring but spring or summer planting is ideal in terms of plant establishment. Have you tried calling around to local garden centers? The Plant Kingdom carries some of the Ackerman hybrids and if they do not currently have ‘Ashton’s Ballet’ they can put you in a wish list for the spring. You can reach them at (502) 893-7333. For now, if you have not already, choose and prepare a space in the garden that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. It would also be a good time to have your soil tested for acidity levels before planting this acid-loving plant. Soil testing can be done through the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service. They are located at 810 Barret Avenue and their phone number is (502) 569-2344.