Under the tab for Mt Edgcumbe, you will find pages for some of the areas into which the National Collection of Camellias is divided. I have now posted illustrations for most of Area 1G.
The reason I started in the middle is simple enough; approaching the collection from the usual car park 1G is the first part of the collection you encounter. Almost all of the plants are big enough to be flowering freely but not so big that any have been hard pruned. Arriving with my camera, it’s the first area I plunge into and the area for which I have the nearest to a full set of images.
Inevitably this sort of scrutiny throws up some issues and some of these are quite interesting. The first bush you come to is Nuccio’s Cameo, a popular formal double, light pink in colour. Next but one to it is a bush labelled Nuccio’s Gem, which should be a white formal double but is in fact also pink. However it is not the pink of Nuccio’s Cameo, which was my first thought for a correct identity. Further over again is another bush of Nuccio’s Gem which does flower white, so is presumably correct. I must compare the foliage of the two Gems, if identical the pink could be a pink sport, though none is recorded in the Camellia Register.
Grand Slam, at 1G-041, is another product of Nuccio’s Nurseries. It should be a brilliant deep red and that is what half of it is. The other half is variegated. The Register does list a Grand Slam Variegated, but this bush has presumably become infected with the appropriate virus but it has not affected the whole bush, at least not yet. Perhaps it should carry two labels. Interestingly, in the spring of 2016, there was almost no white blotching on this, or indeed many of the other virus variegated varieties in the collection.
There is another variegated camellia in this area which now has a hand written label on it saying “Unknown”. It used to have a label identifying it as Ville de Nantes, but it is not that, nor a variegated form of it. I have taken many pictures of it as it has the most striking virus variegation and is hard to walk past without recording the latest variation. I am inclined to think it is Donckelaeri/Masayoshi, but I’m not sure how I will establish that beyond reasonable doubt.
It is often a straightforward matter to establish that a plant is wrongly named. The books all say a variety is a red double and what you have is a white single. Taking the label off means a visitor could search fruitlessly for a label which is not there, but what should you do? It is rarely a simple matter to identify the variety so it may be labelled correctly but the difficulty of doing so is not appreciated by most people. Most people would be oblivious to a plant being labelled incorrectly, but it still seems wrong to me to put a name on a plant unless there is a firm belief that it is correct.