On closer inspection, it turns out I have photos of more than half of the plants in area 6. Of the eighteen I have illustrations for there are issues around nine, so area six is going to be problematic for a while yet. I have put my notes about these issues under the tab for Area six.
There are a few areas which I have been putting off tackling and area 6 is one. It must be one of the oldest parts of the collection and the large bushes were cut back hard about four years ago. They are only just getting back to flowering freely so there has been very little to photograph since they were pruned.
It is a very steep section and slippery underfoot. An earlier reccie had established that there was a mismatch between the plan I had and what was on the ground, so this week I surveyed it and redrew the map. I have uploaded it under its own tab.
There are a few flowers opening in the section but it’s early days for most of them. One that is blooming is ‘Tricolor Nova’, supposedly the only plant in the collection. It looked familiar and I have concluded that it is the same as one of the two varieties planted together at 1G-057 and labelled ‘La Pace Rubra’.
Another variety with some blooms open was ‘Madame de Strekaloff’. As is the case with ‘Tricolor Nova’, it is difficult to reconcile the description in the register with the blooms on these plants. The descriptions are from documents dated soon after the introduction of the two varieties in the mid 19th century. Might the plant have changed over time? ‘Madame de Strekaloff’ is of Italian origin, ‘Tricolor Nova’ Belgian. How much difference in flower form might a much more maritime climate make? How accurate were the descriptions in the first place? We are familiar with catalogues exaggerating the merits of plants today; back then there was no Trade Descriptions Act.
Ultimately, from the conservation point of view, the first task is to secure the variety in cultivation. If it proves impossible to be certain that a name is correct then it is just as impossible to prove that it is not, so unless it is being used for another variety it may as well be let stand. If confusion is going to arise then it should perhaps be given a new name and a full description of the plant be lodged somewhere as a point of reference henceforth.
It’s nearly three weeks since I was up at Mt Edgcumbe: Christmas, New Year and a terrible cold are now history. The forecast was for rain all day, I set out with misgivings.
It stayed dry and there was much to see. The sasanquas have finished with the exception of ‘Gay Sue’. Some of Dr Ackerman’s hybrids were still going and there were a few blooms on a couple of hiemalis varieties.
I just posted this picture on Twitter; of nearly all the camellias I photographed on Tuesday. My aim this spring is to get photographs of everything in the collection that produces a bloom and to attempt to verify that they are correctly named. It is in the nature of the task that it is relatively easy to say that a name is wrong, much more difficult to correct it.
I haven’t checked all of them yet but I have a problem with four already.
‘Angela Cocchi’ is described in the Register as formal double or rose form, white with red spots and stripes.
‘Eric Baker’ was manager at Duchy of Cornwall Nursery and on the occasion of his retirement the unregistered ‘Trewithen White’ was renamed ‘Eric Baker’ and a plant of it presented to him. It is fully double, with no stamens showing.
The species Camellia pitardii has a single flower whereas this is semi-double.
This bush is labelled Camellia ‘Cornish Snow Winton’, which is an invalid name confusing two varieties. ‘Winton’ has a pink blush, especially on the buds. This is ‘Cornish Snow’. Both are C.cuspidata x C.saluenensis crosses.
Putting on the best show in the collection were the two sasanqua x reticulata crosses ‘Flower Girl’ and ‘Show Girl’. The parentage of both is the same, C.sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ x C.reticulata ‘Damanao’ and both were raised by Howard Asper. They are quite similar, with
‘Show Girl’ having slightly larger flowers 11-12cm across. ‘Flower Girl’ is a stronger colour, particularly toward the centre.
Also performing well were two of the early Caerhays williamsii crosses, ‘St Ewe’ and ‘Mary Christian’; plus ‘Bow Bells’, a similar variety raised by W.J. Marchant.
This tree of ‘St Ewe’ is around 5m tall and was one of a few in English Section 2B that was not hard pruned in spring 2016. It is a fine sight from further up the hill but the main path is way below it and is hard to see it well against the sky.
Some of the japonica varieties that had been starting to open three weeks ago were in full flow. ‘Gloire de Nantes’ is pink, ‘Nobilissima and ‘Campsii Alba’ white. The whites are looking remarkably good, we have had almost no frost and very little wind to damage the blooms.
Many others were starting to open and sporting a few blooms, some more than others. The enigma that is ‘Peter Betteley’ remains unresolved. I am amassing pictures of the two bushes, hoping for some killer detail to emerge that clearly distinguishes what I suspect to be sister seedlings.
‘Merry Christmas’ is one of a number of single reds now in flower and I had mentally tagged as “just another”; today I noticed it has an occasional white edge, in the manner of ‘Tama no ura’.