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International Camellia Society Gardens of Excellence

Scheme for the Recognition of the International Camellia Gardens of Excellence
Approved by the ICS Directors on March 26th, 2023


  1. International Camellia Gardens of Excellence (GOE) are ambassadors of the International Camellia Society across the world. They are intended to actively promote the love for and knowledge of camellias. They are intended to build a worldwide network of knowledge and passion.
  2. GOEs actively promote and adopt sustainability, for example water, green waste and recycling, environmental protection, and conservation of camellia collections.
  3. Their description, location, visit times, and plant list are on the ICS website.
  4. Gardens of excellence can reflect a wide range of complementary and overlapping objectives. In some gardens, typically old private properties, landscaping is a main objective of the garden architect (as you can see in historical gardens located in Europe, Japan, and UK). Other gardens are public botanic parks for acclimatation and/or conservation of cultivars and/or species, thus addressing the knowledge of cultivars and species.
  5. Last and not least, gardens of excellence show the great variety of both camellia flowers and blooming seasons, from late summer (everblooming hybrids) to autumn/winter (sasanquas) to springtime (japonicas, reticulatas and all other camellias).
  6. Given their purpose of promoting and conserving camellias, the gardens of excellence are in every region where camellias can
    be cultivated for ornament or + business (camelia sinensis, camellia oleifera etc.) and, of course, where camellia species originate.
  7. To be acknowledged as excellent, gardens should comply with the criteria listed here below.




  1. An International Camellia Gardens of Excellence (GOE) is a government, public or private property. It is well established, and the ownership and management structures are stable, and perpetual as far as can be reasonably assessed.
  2. The Garden and /or its owners and/or curators are members of ICS. If a garden changes ownership, it shall be re-evaluated within 2 years.



  1. A GOE hosts a collection of camellia varieties and/or species. Plants are adult, well established and labelled. Labels identify each plant according to the naming rules of the International Camellia Register; specifically, each plant is identified by Genus / species / variety e.g., Camellia japonica ‘Masayoshi’. Local names can be added, e.g., ‘Donckelaeri’ is a local name / synonym for ‘Masayoshi’. The labels of unknown and/or unidentified plants are [Genus, species, ‘name*’] where the starred name is any appropriate naming, e.g., ‘chance seedling*’, ‘Mirellina*’. QR codes are added (optionally) to labels.
  2. The collection includes 200 or more camellia species and/or varieties, mature and well-established. Camellias are laid down according to various rationales, as landscaping, variety group, origin, etc. Some GOEs are fully dedicated to camellias while some other are landscaping parks that host a variety of
    ornamental species as rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, conifers etc.
  3. A GOE is a garden, not a generic plantation of camellias. As such it has a landscaping and /or botanic value. Some GOEs are specifically created to preserve endangered or threatened species/ varieties.
  4. GOEs show excellent cultivation practices. Hence, plants are in a good condition and are obtained by grafting, seed, cutting, layering. Multiple grafting on one trunk is not admitted since it impedes a long life to the plant.



  1. Since GOEs are ambassadors of camellias and ICS, visits are a key element. GOEs are always visitable. Visits can be free or by payment or donation.
  2. GOEs can be regularly open and/or visitable on demand. A public timetable on the GOE website indicates the visit times and /or the address/phone for booking the visits.
  3. Periodically, the GOE organizes guided visits for schools to illustrate cultivation and reproduction of camellias.



  1. The ICS website contains a page for each GOE. The page is in English and contains various sections:
    1. Garden overview, namely a summary of the garden history and of the camellia collection, with panoramic photos of the garden
    2. Directions to reach the garden and a Google map.
    3. Accessibility: parking, public transit, services, restaurant, etc.
    4. A map of the garden that shows the position of camellias.
    5. A couple of photos of the flagship camellias
    6. A downloadable excel list of camellias in the garden and a downloadable flyer of the garden,
    7. Other visitor’s information, as defined by the ICS Web Manager
    8. A link to a supplemental website of the garden (if any) that is in English and/or other languages.



Shows and events promote the knowledge of camellias. GOEs organize and/or participate to camellia shows for spring camellias (japonicas, reticulatas, hybrids and alike), autumn camellias (sasanquas and species), fragrant camellias, everblooming hybrids.


Steps and rules for proposing, approving, reconfirming, and cancelling a GOE are described here below.


  1. The candidacy for GOE is proposed to the ICS President by a Director of the relevant ICS Region
  2. The garden’s curator and/or owner submits a PPT presentation in English that illustrates the garden’s property structure and history, camellia collection, visiting procedures, shows and event. A 3-mimute clip where the curators and/or owners illustrate the garden is welcome.
  3. The garden’s proposal is accompanied a short report of a Director of the ICS region where the garden is situated that certifies that the garden complies with the above criteria.
  4. That first report is accompanied by a second inspection report of an Officer of another ICS Region. Given the variable extension of the ICS Regions, the “Director or Officer of another ICS Region” means:
    1. Africa: to be defined for each application and revision.
    2. Americas: a second Officer from another State of the US.
    3. Australia: a second Officer from another State of Australia or NZ
    4. China: a second Officer from a different Province
    5. Europe, including the GB: an officer from another country (e.g., an Officer from Switzerland for a garden in France)
    6. Japan: a second Officer from a different Prefecture
    7. New Zealand: a second officer from NZ or Australia



  1. GOE proposals are published in the GOE section of the ICS website with the status “proposed”.
  2. After publication, for 2 months, Officers and ICS members ask information to the garden’s mail address. After that question time, submitted proposals are discussed by the Board of the ICS directors every year, either at ICS Congress or by postal vote. Proposals can be approved individually.
  3. After approval, the garden status on the ICS website will be normalized. In the unfortunate case of rejection, the status of the garden becomes “pending”.
  4. After approval, the GOE pays to ICS a special membership fee of 200 USD per year to reimburse publication expenses.



  1. The President maintains a register of GOEs.
  2. Each GOE is reviewed every tenth year by the same procedure that were used for proposal and approval. Hence, the garden submits a presentation that highlights the progress made in the 10-year period, and a Director of the related ICS region confirms the compliance, with a further confirmation by a second Director of another Region (with the above-mentioned exceptions for China, Japan, US).
  3. An ICS officer who feels that a GOE garden have fallen below criteria standards may request to have the garden reviewed at any time, even before the normal 10 yearly review.
  4. In the unfortunate case that the GOE is not confirmed, the GOE status is revoked and the GOE post is cancelled from the ICS website.


The GOE status is also revoked on request of the GOE itself.


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