2020 – CHW
Caroline Bell, who is writing an article for the Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group on the origins of the Japanese Camellia sasanqua in the UK, visited to look at our five elderly sasanqua plants along the castle wall. These date possibly from 1900 or 1902 in the planting records. There is also a Camellia vernalis ‘Dawn’ (‘Ginryu’) with irregular yellow variegations in its leaves which probably dates from 1897. Two plants are still doing well below the nursery bedrooms beside a Magnolia stellata which was also planted then.
Are these the earliest and oldest Camellia sasanquas surviving in the UK? That is the question to be proved or disproved.
The Japanese nursery set up in London in 1907 at Kingsway. Wade’s Hakoneya nursery arrived after WW1. Reuthe’s nursery sold camellias before that and JCW purchased, sadly unnamed, camellias from them in 1900, 1902 and 1905.
The Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ and Camellia ‘Sodekakushi’ (‘Gauntlettii’) beside the front door are very probably from Reuthe’s in 1902. It is perhaps doubtful if the other C. sasanquas along the wall (of the 1880s added on billiard room) were planted before this but the C. vernalis ‘Dawn’ may well have been.
Here they all are yesterday (in order) from the side door:
2019 – CHW
Symphoricarpos x doorenbossii ‘Mother of Pearl’ with its white fruit clusters. Some slightly slug or snail damaged.
2018 – CHW
A younger form of Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ with less pink blotching in the flowers than the old plant on the Top Wall.
A clump of Rhododendron davidsonianum has been hard pruned to reshoot.
A surprise unknown rhododendron in the yakusimanum hybrids clump has several flowers. Cannot place it.
2015 – CHW
Before the rain I revisit the liquidambers to see how the colour has developed in the last few days. Answer: virtually no progress and still largely green in leaf.
On the way I come across a small Ginkgo ‘Jade Butterflies’ which had previously been hidden away by deciduous azaleas now cut down. No hint of yellow autumn colour yet but a tidy little plant with very attractive leaves. A 2008 planting of three different leaved named ginkgos but very slow progress which is typical of ginkgos. I will try to catch up with the other varieties when they turn colour.
Many flowers on Nov Pink. Very wet year – very wet week.1962 – FJW
Rain came after 3 weeks.
1953 – CW
Picked first Camellia oleifera from wall almost open. Many pink Sasanqua as well as white open. Lot of Rho neriiflorum in Drive, also mucronulatum. November Pink showing colour, picked 2 buds.
1934 – JCW
Things are much as is usual and no frost as yet. Magnolia delavayi has had some fairish flower.
1918 – JCW
Lapagerias, hydrangeas, rose beds are fairly good. R decorum and neriiflorum look well. Various other rhodo’s give bits of flower. Clematis panniculata is good.
1906 – JCW
C sasanqua in flower (two or three). A few two year old daffs up. Cyclamen are good yet and so are the lapagerias and roses. There has been a long fine autumn now apparently breaking.
1903 – JCW
We have two Polyanthus seedlings in flower. Tin Garden, a few two years old showing, no one year old. The cyclamen are over now.
(Handwritten note attached to Garden Book page, 1931)
Put in about 18 seeds of C speciosa x Camellia reticulata close to Gun Room door.
(Additional Note: July 21st 1932: six seeds are up.)