2012 Plant Personality of the Year Awards
At a glittering award ceremony (my desk!) those special golden envelopes have been opened to reveal this year’s champion. The Theaceae family had 6 entries in the top 13 short list. This may be possibly due to the fact that we are now an International camellia society “Camellia garden of excellence” or simply it was a good year for them.
The top three, in reverse order are:-
This shrub flowered its heart out in July this year. A member of the Proteaceae family. Its flowers, like mini parrot beaks, are coloured pink in the centre fadeding to creamy yellow at the edge and really set off the fern like foliage. Slightly tender but well worth the a try in your garden.
The silver medal/2nd place goes to:-
Schima wallichii var.khasiana
A member of the Theacaea was simply stunning this year warranting an second “plant of the month” for October. The huge “Poached egg” type flowers are set against lush, glossy, evergreen foliage that is worthy of a place in anybodies collection without the flowers. Our tree is a national champion, being the tallest of its type in the British isles.
I saw this growing in the mountains while traveling through Yunnan this February. The one that sticks in my mind is when we had a “rest stop” while traveling to Tengchong and saw the tree happily growing on the hillside amongst other “Trewithen plants” such as buddleia and Schefflera.
Drum roll please….
And, finally after all this champagne, the winner is:-
Camellia reticulata 'Shizitou' (Lion Head)
One of our “Kunming” camellias bought here by two Americans, Walter Lammerts and Ralph Peer, in the 1950’s from the temples in Kunming, China. I saw this plant everywhere I went throughout Yunnan this February and it was in full bloom when I returned to Trewithen.