Whenever I see these stunning Camellia blooms, I immediately think ‘Karma Camellia’, with their red petals, gold centres and glossy dark green leaves. Originating from all over Asia there are hundreds of species and thousands of hybrids so not all fall into the red, gold and green format and at this time of year Cornwall is a-pop with a tapestry of pinks, whites and reds too.
Camellias love acidic soil, so they thrive in Cornwall and Mount Edgecumbe Country Park near Torpoint has been home to the National Camellia Collection since 1975. This Grade 1 Landscaped Park stretches over 865 acres and includes 10 miles of Cornish Coastline. The Camellia Collection with upwards of 1000 cultivars, is one of the largest in the UK, and is set in 30 acres of woodland with free entry to the public.
In 2008 The Lost Gardens of Heligan near Mevagissey was also awarded National Collection Holder status by Plant Heritage for its veteran collection of over 70 camellias and 350 rhododendrons. The National Trust’s Lanhydrock near Bodmin also has a collection of more than 220 camellia varieties giving visitors a wealth of opportunities to enjoy these wonderful plants within easy reach of Helsbury Park.
Camellia Sinensis is better known as the tea plant and Cornwall is home to Britain’s first ever tea plantation at Tregothnan on the banks of the river Fal near Truro. In 2019 Tregothnan Single Estate Black was awarded a wapping 94/100 by Tea Epicure rating it among the top teas in the world. Tregothnan teas are available to order via their website and you can even buy yourself or the biggest tea lover in your family their own tea bush. Time to put the kettle on!