Our Camellias could be oldest in the UK

From growing wild in their native China to becoming the prized showpieces of Georgian aristocracy thousands of miles away in Rotherham, and then their sad decline…The camellias of Wentworth Woodhouse have such a story to tell.

One of the world’s experts will be telling that story – and why Wentworth’s camellias could be some of the oldest and most important in the Western World, on Thursday, November 14 as part of our Autumn-Winter Garden Lecture Series. The series of events features established horticulturists, such as Steve Porter from Chatsworth, discussing their roles taking care of the gardens at some of the most famous stately homes in the UK.

Geraldine King, Estate Gardens Manager at Chiswick House and Gardens Trust in London, was drafted in this spring to identify the Wentworth blooms still occupying the now derelict Camellia House in the gardens.

“The Georgians were very into discovering the New World and and commissioned intrepid plant-hunters to seek out exotic blooms for their stately homes. When I walked into Wentworth’s Camellia House and saw what a treasure the Trust had without realising it I almost fell over with shock,” she said.

“There are 19 camellias in the collection. So far we have identified three historic varieties and the most precious is a Camellia japonica ‘Alba Plena’, one of the first varieties to be introduced into Europe in 1792.

“Its trunk is 72cm in circumference, as wide as a tree and larger than that of the oldest Camellia japonica‘Alba Plena’ we have at Chiswick, which is thought to be from the 1820s.”

Hear the full story unfold when Geraldine visits us for the first of our Garden lecture series on Thursday November 14.

Tickets and more informations can be found here