On my recent visit to Mount Congreve I could not resist buying a couple of camellias. The nursery there has closed so this was the last chance to buy a plant with connections to the garden. The plan is to grow these in pots so I can take them back to the UK when I return next year. There were lots on offer – and I mean literally on offer because they were buy one get one free! I chose two that appealed to me for different reasons. Being a confirmed lover of the odd the first choice was easy.
This new variety is a sport or mutant of ‘Lady Campbell’. It arose in The Netherlands in 1999. The flowers are the same double red as the original plant but what makes it special is the growth habit.
The stems are gently sinuous, like the stems of the twisted hazel, and the leaves have a gentle curl too. It is supposed to be bushy in habit and I suppose the curly stems will help it stay compact. It is, perhaps, more peculiar than beautiful but I like it a lot and the wavy stems seem to make the flowers open in all sorts of directions.
It is protected by patent from unlicensed propagation.
The other is also a Camellia japonica variety but this is older and it is also sold under similar names. It has an upright habit and some descriptions say the flowers are scruffy but although they do vary a little in shape and have larger guard petals and a pompon of smaller ones in the centre, most of the blooms are what I would call ‘anemone form’. What I loved though was the colour, a real sugar pink.
It is sometimes listed as ‘Ardouch’ or ‘Ardouche’ and these are apparently corruptions of ‘Arajish’, the transliteration of the Japanese name.
As far as I can tell it was imported from Japan by Mr Zuicke, in Victoria, Australia in 1894 but when it made its way to the northern hemisphere I do not know. I guess that among the plethora of camellias it is nothing special but I was quite taken by it.