Gary Long, Head Gardener of Trewithen, has been awarded a Directorship of the International Camellia Society (U.K.) Ltd (ICS). It’s believed he is the first Head Gardener ever to have been honoured with this prestigious position.

Gary was nominated for the role by ICS Management Committee member, Bee Robson. He will be one of only five directors representing the UK in this internationally recognised society.

“I nominated him because he’s an excellent gardener and he knows and understands camellias,” said Bee. “He’s extremely conscientious  – working tirelessly at Trewithen whilst supporting his young family – but he still finds time to help with the ICS. What’s also unusual is that Gary has terrific support from the Galsworthy family who own Trewithen.”

Trewithen Garden is famed for the beauty and variety of its camellia collection. It is one of 39 ICS Camellia Gardens of Excellence in the world – five of which are in England, with three in Cornwall.

Some of the of the many qualifying criteria for the status are that a garden must be well established and have a minimum of 300 different varieties of camellias maintained to a high standard; the collection must be open for the public to see and the garden must promote enthusiasm for, and better growing of, camellias. Trewithen’s prestigious award was presented to Gary at the International Camellia Society’s congress in Chuxiong, Yunnan Province, China, in February 2012.

In his role as Director, Gary will help oversee ICS affairs, arrange activities, help with membership recruitment and work to raise awareness of the ICS regionally.

Gary said: “It’s such an honour to have been appointed an ICS Director. I’m already planning to ensure camellias have a greater presence at horticultural shows and want to join forces with other gardens of excellence.” 

This year, as part of his commitment to promoting camellias, Gary is assisting a programme that the ICS is supporting to collect data for all the camellias in the collection. The ICS historic sub committee does it for known varieties of camellias pre-1920. It’s painstaking and time-consuming research work that will eventually feed into a global database.

With the help of Trewithen volunteers, Nicola and Carol, Gary has been collecting and photographing leaves, buds and flowers recording distinguishing features on data sheets designed, specifically for the project, by Bee.