Mount Edgcumbe montage

I posted this montage on Twitter but didn’t have space for the names. Last Tuesday at Mt Edgcumbe the camellias were really getting into their stride. I spent the day taking photos and these are some of the highlights, names below.


Row 1, Masayoshi (probably), Dainty (California), grijsii, General Lamoriciere, Sundae.
Row 2, Felice Harris, Seagull, Trionfo di Lodi, White Nun, Jennifer Turnbull.
Row 3, Lily Pons, High Hat, San Dimas, Tear Drops, saluenensis.
Row 4, Betty Foy Sanders, Coed, Otome Shibori, Desire, Sweetheart.
Row5, Firedance, Sunny Side, Miss Universe, Interval, Momijigari.

A matter of taste

I just nipped out and took photos of three of my camellias. I was struck by how diverse they were and how likely it is that a lot of people would hold strong opinions about where each of them sat on the refined/vulgar spectrum.

I can honestly say that while they appeal to me in different ways, I like them equally.

The first is a seedling reticulata, which I call ‘Yojimbo’, though I doubt I shall ever register it. The flowers are 13cm across, flamboyantly ruffled and of a strident pink colour.


The second is also pink, not so very different in tone, but totally lacking the stridency. The blooms are small and single, 5cm across at most, with a very pleasant sweet perfume. The leaves are small, dark and glossy. It is a lutchuensis x japonica cross called ‘Koto-no-kaori’.


The last one is a species, yuhsienensis. The flowers are pure white with narrow twisted petals and a fine fragrance.


Now I can see that each would work to best effect in a different setting. They each have their own individual personalities and could look terrible in the wrong setting. But in the right setting, each of them would look stunning. Yet I know there will be people out there who hate at least one of them, which I’m afraid I don’t understand.

Years ago, having driven down a lane carpeted with primroses to get to the nursery, a customer declared that she couldn’t abide yellow. I pointed out that she’d not see a better display of primroses anywhere and that surely she liked them. She thought for a moment, shook her head and reaffirmed that she did indeed hate yellow. I decided many years ago to stick with plants; I can’t fathom a lot of people.



4, 5 & 8; a tale of slippery slopes.

I took the precaution of doing my voluntary day at Mt Edgcumbe yesterday, having seen the forecast for today. It’s raining and foggy, it was a good call. Yesterday it was blowing a hoolie but at least it was dry and sunny.

When I checked through the collection last summer, there were three sections that I walked away from at the time, intending to re-visit them this spring when they were flowering. I have taken some tentative nibbles at said bullet.

Area 4A. The Australia & New Zealand sections that were 4 and 4A, I have rolled into one as 4A, containing 46 plants at present. Two of these are all but dead. 20 have no label. The area has been badly affected by falling trees and two bushes are growing out of a tangle of uncleared branches.


‘Ballet Queen Variegated’, ‘Jury’s Yellow’ and ‘Thompsonii’ in area 4A.


The records show 17 other varieties as having been in the area, many of which are not shown on the plans. The area is steep and hard to access, but the path runs along the top so there are good views into the top of large bushes.


That may be ‘Aspasia Macarthur’ middle left, ‘Can Can’ top right. I can’t get near either of them to search for labels. Pass me that chainsaw….


Area 5A was one of the earliest parts of the collection, though how much of it is from the original planting and how much planted since is hard to tell and the records are incomplete. Many of the older plants were hard pruned about 4 years ago and are only just getting back to flowering freely. They are almost up to their original size and much bushier too.

The section is on a very steep slope under a tree canopy mainly of beech. It is deeply shaded in summer and very difficult to access, especially when the ground is wet. With 61 plants it is quite a large section and there are 18 unlabelled plants plus a suspicion that the odd fallen label may have been put back on the wrong bush.

Section 8, the singles collection, is in an area known as the quarry. Unsurprisingly, it is ridiculously steep. Of the 34 plants in it, 22 are unlabelled. As with all of the unlabelled plants, I don’t want to re-label them until I am fairly certain of their identity, so even if the plan makes it clear what a particular plant should be, I want to see it in flower and be confident of the name before giving it a new label.


‘Mattie Cole’,  ‘Jennifer Turnbull’ and ‘Hassaku’ from Area 8. None are labelled, the first two are probably correct, the last almost certainly wrong.