Camellia talk

At the end of a day visiting Courson, laden down with goodies, tired but happy, it was time to sing for my supper. I was asked to speak to the ICS group in the evening and had prepared a talk with slides to illustrate my subject: gardening in France, with particular reference to the International Festival of Gardening at Chaumont.

It’s been I while since I have lectured in this way but everyone was encouraging and I muddled through as best I could. I think it went OK, at least they didn’t refuse to give me the gift they had brought me: an unusual Camellia species – Cam. grijsii. I am still skipping about with excitement over the gift.

The following text and photograph was found here:

Camellia grijsii

Camellia grijsii

Camellia grijsii (长瓣短柱茶 in Chinese) Hance (1879) is a wild species of section Paracamellia. It is related to C. sasanqua, C. oleifera and C. kissii. It was collected in 1861 in Fujian by C.F.M. de Grijs. It is distributed in China (Fujian, Hubei, Sichuan, Guangxi) and used for a high-quality oil production.

Camellia grijsii has great hybridizing potential. Two plants in my garden have small leaves with impressed veins and very columnar shape. I believe there are also varieties with larger leaves, but I am specifically interested in small-leaved cultivars.

Another great feature of C. grijsii is its cluster-flowering habit. However in my garden C. grijsii flowers from January to March, so it will be a challenge to cross it with Fall-flowering sasanquas. Probably I will have to store some pollen from sasanquas in refrigerator for a couple of months.

The plant itself was grown by Trehane Nurseries and Penny Trehane (yes, the Penny Trehane) was part of the group. Like so many famous and talented nursery-folk I have met over the years, she is a charming champion of her subject, an expert in Blueberries as well as Camellias.

My new Camellia will sit well with the sasanquas I bought at the show.


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