Notes from the park -31/12/2019

Last day of the year and I thought I’d take advantage of a dry forecast to go and see what was happening. There was plenty to see.

Star of the show, as she is every year around this time, is ‘Show Girl’ in the species section. It is one of three in the collection and reliably the best.
Show-Girl-16
Show-Girl-17

It was a very gloomy day with a little drizzle and she just blazed out in defiance. To the left of her in the wide picture you can just make out the small, vivid pink blooms of ‘Kanjiro’. In spite of that looking as good as I’ve seen it, you can barely see it. It just underlines how good ‘Show Girl’ is. The blooms are nearly six inches across.
Show-Girl-18

In my last blog on November 18th, I was telling the tale of acquiring and planting Camellia ‘Yoimachi’. It’s only a short distance away from ‘Show Girl’. I’m pleased to say it seems to have settled in exceptionally well and is flowering as if nothing had happened. The vivid pink behind it is ‘Shishigashira’.
Yoimachi-5Yoimachi-4

As mentioned above, the variety ‘Kanjiro’, of which there are two in this area, is flowering well, as is the single plant of ‘Hiryû’. The name ‘Hiryû’ was invalidly used for ‘Kanjiro’ in Australia, an error that shouldn’t have spilled over to the UK, but maybe has. I compared the two varieties today and could see no difference between them, in flower or foliage. The two plants of ‘Kanjiro’ are a bit more upright but that could be because they are in a less shaded spot. Assuming they are the same, I now need to work out which name is correct. ‘Hiryû’ is given as x vernalis, ‘Kanjiro’ as hiemalis, which would suggest there should be an obvious difference between them.
Kanjiro-2

However, x vernalis is a hybrid between sasanqua and japonica and has given rise to a rather diverse group of cultivars. Hiemalis is given species status by some botanists but is almost certainly another sasanqua x japonica hybrid group, and just for good measure, Camellia sasanqua, the species, has small white flowers and it is likely that most of the designated cultivars of it that are in cultivation are again hybrids.

One variety flowering down in Japanese section 3C is definitely attributable to x vernalis, in that I am convinced that in spite of it being labelled C. pitardii, it is in fact C. x vernalis ‘Ginryû’. See my blog from February 2018.
Ginryu

Then there were the rest. Here’s a montage, by no means exhaustive.

Row 1: ‘Lily Pons’, ‘St Ewe’, ‘Cornish Snow’, ‘Inspiration’, ‘Winton’.
Row 2: ‘Chatsworth Belle’, ‘Kewpie Doll’, ‘Paradise Glow’, ‘Mabel Blackwell, ‘Peter Betteley’.
Row 3: ‘Winter’s Snowman’, ‘John Pickthorne’, ‘Little Bit Red’, ‘Scented Red’, grijsii.
Row 4: ‘Peter Betteley’, ‘Nobilissima’, ‘Flower Girl’, ‘Bonanza’, ‘Winter’s Toughie’.
Row 5: ‘Elizabeth Dowd’, ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Gay Sue’, ‘Little Lavender’, Tinker Toy’.

 

A new addition.

Yoimachi-1
A few days ago I found myself reading a 1982 article by Dr Clifford Parks about hybrids of Camellia sasanqua. I was looking up the background to C. ‘Snow Flurry’, an Ackerman cross with C. oleifera, one he was to repeat many times.

Perhaps the most interesting cross that Parks mentioned was one he made himself with Camellia fraterna, the other parent being C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’. He had named it ‘Yoi Machi’ and described it as “a fine textured shrub with very delicate flowers”. It seems to have become ‘Yoimachi’ in the Camellia register.

Yoimachi-3
It reminded me that I knew where there was one growing, and effectively abandoned. I am very pleased to say that it is abandoned no more, having today been dug up and transported to Mt Edgcumbe where it has been planted in the species section, Area 10.
The pictures above are of it in its previous quarters in February 2017.

Yoimachi-2

A good proportion of the plants in Area 10 are forms of Camellia sasanqua or the closely related C. hiemalis. There are around 20 mostly large bushes flowering there right now and looking ethereally beautiful in the low light of autumn.

sasanquas-4

Top row: ‘Paradise Hilda’, ‘Plantation Pink’, ‘Sparkling Burgundy’.
Middle Row: sport of ‘Hugh Evans’, Paradise Glow’, ‘Rainbow’.
Bottom Row: ‘Hugh Evans’, ‘Navajo’, ‘Dazzler’.