The flowering season for camellias at Mount Edgcumbe runs from October to May. Last summer I was still trying to sort out a host of nomenclatural issues from the 2015/16 flowering season. This summer there has not been much that I could add to that, so my last four weekly visits have been spent strimming around the camellias. Last summer a group of European students did the job, this year there were none.
Far be it from me to complain, but strimming bracken that is above my head, on slippery steep slopes, whilst being assailed by horseflies and tics, for zero remuneration, is not something I can pretend to enjoy. Satisfaction comes from standing back from a job well done and knowing that it was done with as much care as possible.
I have also taken cuttings of a number of plants in the collection that are only represented by one specimen. One of these was C. caudate, which fell over last year but in spite of being completely prostrate, has survived to yield a batch of cuttings. It seemed likely that that standing it up would break the remaining tenuous link to its root system.
I have also done a small number of grafts, of two of the C. reticulata forms in the collection. I shall post a more detailed blog about that in due course.
The biggest problem with trying to get duplicates of all the plants in the collection is that it is difficult enough to keep on top of what is there now, without adding any more. One solution may be to try and get other people to take on one or more of the back up plants and to keep records of them as if they were part of the main collection.