What's looking good this month?
The Camellias are starting to show off their magnificent blooms set against deep green glossy foliage.
Known as the Queen of the Winter Flowers, they have been cultivated in the Far East for over 2000 years but only introduced into Europe for the very wealthy at the end of the 18th century.
Camellias of note
First, as usual, of the main season Camellias is Camellia japonica ‘Nobilissima’ with a pure white, double flower.
Also flowering early in the year is Camellia ‘Macdonald’s Seedling’ - a lustrous deep red with prominent yellow stamens.
Further along Camellia Walk, look for Camellia x williamsii ‘Jenefer Carlyon’ with its semi double silvery pink flowers.
Camellia Walk to Alice's Seat
At the junction of Camellia Walk there is a wonderful sweetness in the air from the Sarcococca confusa.
Also known as Christmas Box this small evergreen from Asia is also planted en masse by Alice’s Seat.
Nearby, on Fox Path Lonicera fragrantissima (Shrubby Honeysuckle), a semi-evergreen shrub, produces delightfully fragrant cream-coloured flowers in late winter.
On the left, as you walk along Lawn Path into the garden, the large stand of Acacia pravissima is on the verge of flowering and below in the valley the Acacia dealbata is clearly visible with bright yellow puffs hanging from feathery branches.
The Chilean Coomb
Our champion Magnolia campbellii, the giant Himalayan ‘Pink Tulip Tree’, sometimes starts flowering as early as January.
Found at the top of the Chilean Coomb, it is covered with large felty buds that open to form a spreading canopy of beautiful rose-pink goblet-shaped flowers.