It's definitely not a usual plant for our hot and wet summers, but we have managed to keep a few camellia plants thriving in our heavily shaded side yard for three years now. Here at the cusp of spring, the gorgeous rose-like blossoms are a welcome sight in comparison to our heavily front-burnt bottle palms and Christmas palm. This is the first year in about seven that we've had such low, sustained temperatures and, like many homeowners and landscapers, we had become complacent about the risk of a freeze. We all cavalierly planted palms and tender perennials better suited for zone 10 and sometimes even zone 11.
So, we now have burnt Hawaiian Ti, Crotons, Ixora and palms. On the "making lemonade" side, my "employer" has been getting calls from homeowners that need the dead plants torn out and replaced with hardier varieties. Would they like to try camellias, do you think?