This month sees Trebah’s collection of 500 Camellias coming into its main flowering period.
The Camellias can be found on Camellia Walk, Petry’s Path and Badger’s Walk. Camellias were not introduced to Europe until the 18th century but are now a mainstay of classic Cornish gardens. The flowers range from pure white (eg. ‘White Swan’ H03 & ‘Cornish Snow’ J08) and pale pink to cerise and crimson (eg. ‘MacDonald’s Seedling’ B05), some flecked or bicoloured (eg. ‘Lavinia Maggii’ C10), single or double.
A walk to Alice’s Seat (D12) will be rewarded by the delicate sweet fragrance from the massed planning of Sarcococca confusa. This attractive and easily grown plant originates from China and thrives in shade. The scent from its small white flowers literally pervades the air. Close by on Radiata Path (F09) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ is producing an abundance of yellow/orange spider-like flowers on leafless arching branches that release a sweet spicy perfume into the cold winter air.
The Snowdrops are looking pretty on the banks below Badger’s Walk, Petry’s Path and under the huge Beech tree just below Tarzan’s Camp (E06). Leucojum aestivum (G08), closely related to snowdrops, with stems up to 45cm, is flowering along Beach Path.
On Petry’s Path, you could be forgiven for thinking blue mophead Hydrangeas are flowering out of season, they are in fact, Dichroa febrifuga (I09). It is a member of the Hydrangeaceae family and in Chinese medicine its roots are used to treat malaria. The blue flowers are followed by indigo berries.
At the top of the Chilean Coomb our champion Magnolia campbellii (J15) from the sheltered valleys in the Himalayas - the aristocrat amongst the species, is covered with large felty buds that will flower this month to form a spreading canopy. Decades can elapse before it reaches flowering size. The goblet-shaped rose-pink blooms eventually open up like huge waterlilies.