Except mine don't last more than a few days because we always get a downpour when they are blooming and the fat buds and weighty blossoms are knocked off the tree. Always, without fail. We could be in a deep drought, with no rain for weeks and no precipitation in the forecast for the whole northeast, and we will get a windy downpour the week the Stewartia flowers want to open.
My Stewartia is planted right by the front door where I can see it and admire it. And there is so much to admire. The flowers are the big draw. If it stays dry and they hold on, they look like this, like big fried eggs:
open flower and bark photos from MoBot's filesThe mottled bark is interesting, although people who arrive at my front door sometimes ask "is it supposed to look like that?"
It's a narrow tree, perfect for the side of the house where it adds height in a nice pyramid shape, without much spread. Mine is a very young tree, planted as a 12 inch stick from a one gallon container in fall 2006, and it is still gangly, with a silly twisted top, but it will straighten up. The bark is just beginning to show its mottled pattern.
The fall color is astonishing. I can't describe how pulsating red this gets. My camera kind of imploded when I took this photo in direct morning sun last fall, and it would not even pick up the leaf distinctions, just a blur of shimmery red orange.
It's noted as slow growing, but I'm finding it to be a fast grower, although a little goofy shaped right now. It likes the due east exposure I gave it, with the house for shade in the afternoon.
It's June now, the fat buds are forming, and yes, it is raining. Of course it is. The bee wants to get out of the rain and is happy upside down in his little umbrella shelter, in one of the few blossoms that is hanging on. Most of the flowers litter the soggy mulch at the foot of the tree.
I wish it would hang on to its flowers.
It's such a great tree --- small and neat, with a dapper form, eye blinding red fall color, crazy looking bark --- that each year I forgive it, and have resigned myself to enjoying a few hopeful buds against a gray rainy sky, and creamy white blooms shattered on the wet ground.
Every spring those shattered blooms dash my hopes, but I still love this tree.