Camellia ‘1001 Summer Nights’ Jasmine

New Camellias tend to slip quietly onto the market, appearing first in specialist nurseries  before making it into mainstream garden centres, presumably after the wholesale sector has adopted them and produced them in large numbers.

Camellia ‘1001 Summer Nights’ Jasmine has been available for a year or two but this year’s September Chelsea Flower Show saw it given a higher profile than I recall being given to any previous new Camellia variety in the UK.

The International Camellia Society had a stand in the Grand Pavilion at Chelsea and gave it pride of place. With almost no other Camellias flowering so early, it was given due prominence and attracted plenty of attention from show visitors. It was also entered into the RHS Plant of the Year contest and though it didn’t make the last three, secured some TV coverage and was seen by a wide audience.

Camellia ‘1001 Summer Nights’ Jasmine on the Plant of the Year display at Chelsea Flower Show 2021

This is a new variety of Camellia with an interesting story behind it. A new species of Camellia was identified in the mid 1980’s and named C. changii, a name subsequently changed to Camellia azalea but still disputed it seems. It was summer flowering but it soon transpired that it was not going to be easy to grow, so a breeding programme was launched to try to produce a variety that would be summer flowering in UK growing conditions. ‘1001 Summer Nights Jasmine’ is a hybrid between C. azalea and C. ‘Dr Clifford Parks’, the latter a cross between C. reticulata ‘Crimson Robe’ (‘Dataohong’) and C. japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’.

It is being offered for sale in the UK by various suppliers, here is the link to Thompson and Morgan’s sales information on it.

Even from the pictures in their publicity material there is a suggestion of variability, in that the flowers seem to range from being single with six or seven petals to semi-double with at least twice as many petals. The stamens of camellias readily become petaloid, usually in response to temperature, so this may well be within the natural variation for the variety and only time will tell what the flower form will usually be.

Thompson & Morgan’s Product Development Manager told me that he grew the variety in his garden for a couple of seasons before it was released and that it flowered from July until October.

I came away from Chelsea with two plants of it, one destined for the National Collection at Mount Edgcumbe, the other for me to keep under observation in my own garden. Both have flowers with six or seven petals, 8-10cm wide and of a bright shade of pink. It is evident that they have been flowering for some time and there are still a lot of unopened buds, most showing colour.

The same plant back home in Cornwall after a long trip by bus, train and car.

It is quite exciting to have a novelty come along like this that genuinely brings something new to the range of Camellias currently available. No doubt breeding will continue and this, the first of its kind, will get superseded by better varieties in the future. A new single pink Camellia would have almost no appeal without something as unique as a completely different flowering season. Even so, provided it proves reliably hardy and a regular flowerer, this is a welcome addition to the Camellia family, an evergreen shrub of a reasonable size with showy flowers over a long season.

There are, I’m told, more cultivars in the pipeline. These will all have C. azalea in the parentage but I don’t know what has been used as the other parent. A large number of successful crosses have been made in China using a wide range of both seed and pollen parents but given the sub-tropical conditions in which C. azalea occurs in the wild, it will be very necessary to trial new varieties in local conditions elsewhere in the world to assess their suitability. The International Camellia Journal had articles describing some of the new hybrids back in 2011 and 2012. Presumably the intervening years have been devoted to trialling and building up good stocks. The pictures suggested that they have started with one of the less showy forms; perhaps it stood out for some other reason, perhaps they’re hoping that the customers for ‘1001 Summer Nights’ will want to come back for another variety in a year or two’s time.

5 thoughts on “Camellia ‘1001 Summer Nights’ Jasmine

  1. Hallo Jim nice to find your homepage. Concerning Xiameng Yulan in GB registered as Jasmine you find a hint in my homepage to Prof. Gao Four Season Camellias to a big book about his breeding Pogramm. He is a good friend of my family .
    My Jasmin started deep red a little bit purple, later rosa colour.
    Other Hybrids I got from a friend from nursery Savioli in Italy. They have no name.
    I regret GB Brexit, it is now to complicate.
    Kind regard from a camellia lover.


    • I’m interested that you say ‘1001 Summer Nights Jasmine’ is the same as Xiameng Yulan. It is given in the ICS Register as C. azalea x C. reticulata ‘Dr Clifford Parks’ though the picture that accompanies it is of a semi-double bloom, whereas most of the plants (and pictures) of ‘1001 SNJ’ that I have seen, including my own plant, are single. I have seen Professor Gao’s book, though I don’t have it. I had wondered if it might be the same as ‘Xiari Hongpa’, which was described in an ICS Journal article in 2011, looks very like it and is also given as a hybrid with ‘Dr Clifford Parks’.
      It won’t make you feel any better but I didn’t vote for Brexit, I hardly know anyone who will admit to having done so.


      • Hallo Jim,
        Gao Hybrids C.azalea x Dr Clifford Parks HA-27 1-16
        Xiari Hongpa HA-27-13 is a single form
        among the 16 Hybrids with Dr.Clifford Parks
        are single and other forms of the bloom.
        There exist no hybrid with Dr Clifford Parks with the name Jasmine

        The dutch agent who conveyed the patent among Morgan and an Italian nursery spent me two plants of Xiameng Julan -Handelsname in EG Jasmin( Miyakodori x azalea) simple form

        and two Xiezuo (Xiameng Xiezuo – Mr Xiezuo`s Summer Dream)) Tama Beauty x C.azalea Paeonien form.
        How can I send pictures direct to you ?
        Kind regards

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi
    I was wondering how the 1001 summer nights was doing in mount edgcomb?

    Can you tell me where it is in the garden please? I visit the gardens often.
    Many thanks


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