Despite its northern position, Belgium and Holland enjoy a relatively mild weather. The high passion of Belgium gardening is witnessed by the charming variety "Masayoshi", imported in 1829 from Japan, named as “Donckelarii” after its Belgian gardener, and eventually rediscovered in Japan, where the original tree is still thriving in Kurume prefecture. Belgium features one Garden of Excellence, namely Arboretum Provinciaal Domein Het Leen.
The first living camellias seen in England were at Thorndon Hall, Essex, by Robert James, Lord Petre, among the keenest gardeners of his generation, in 1739.
The expansion of global travel through the tea trade in the later 18th Century brought many varieties and species from China, Japan and other areas of Asia, as C. japonica and C. sasanqua. During the early to mid 20th Century, John Charles Williams, of Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, began hybridising C. japonica and C. saluenensis, which produced hardy camellias.
England's camellia heritage is preserved in its 'Gardens of Excellence' where many of the early introductions and hybridisation work can be seen.
Brittany and Northern France in general are a centre of camellia production. In early 19th Century Abbe Berlese popularised camellias in the Paris area. Camellias were widely used by florists for corsages. Nantes became an important camellia centre, when Jean-Alexandre Hectot established a camellia collection at Les Jardins des Plantes between 1803 and 1820. Brittany, where Nantes is located, enjoys an exceptionally mild weather and acid soil, thus relaunching a wide passion of camellias, with numerous new gardens.
Germany has retained a very close relationship with camellias for centuries, with the first reported camellia bloom being recorded by Johann Heinrich Seidel in 1792.
There are many beautiful camellias in Germany, with two gardens achieving the International Camellia Society's ultimate accolade of 'Garden of Excellence'. Despite the cold weather, some hardy camellia varieties thrive outdoor, notably in Hamburg. Germany features the monumental Pillnitz camellia. Tradition says the Swedish botanist Karl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828) brought four Camellia plants from Japan in 1779 to the Kew Gardens. One plant was passed to Pillnitz(Dresden). In 1801, that Camellia was planted by court gardener Terscheck in the place where it is still today, protected by a movable greenhouse during the winter.
Camellias came to Italy through the merchants of Lucca in Tuscany and through Naples, where English residents,as Lady Emma Hamilton, planted camellias in the English Garden of the Caserta Royal Mansion. Around the half of the Ninteenth century Italian nurseries in Florence, Rome, and around Milan, were producing and exporting many hundreds of new varieties, as the spiral flower of "Vergine di Colle Beato" and "Contessa Lavinia Maggi", both still cultivated today. Camellias in Italy start from the very North , on the Swiss border, to Sicily, thanks to the mild climate and to the acid soil. Camellia gardens exploded in the Belle Epoque, especially on the alpine lakes around Milan, and in Tuscany.
The Camellietum of Compito (Lucca, Tuscany), awarded in 2016 as Garden of Excellence, conserves a wide collection of old Tuscan cultivars and it is visited by almost 10.000 people every year. Villa Anelli is a typical private garden, in fascinating location on Lago Maggiore, with a wide sample of old and modern camellias.
Camellias are concentrated in Galicia a region of North West Spain on the Atlantic Ocean, with a mild maritime weather, which allows the outdoor cultivation of any species and variety. This characteristics has put new enthusiasm and increased the popularity of camellias, with wonderful ancient aristocratic parks and many private gardens. You can find several Gardens of Excellence around the "Route of Camellias", which include ancient parks and newborn arboretums.
Portugal got in contact with Japan and China in the Sixteenth century, and some Chinese words came to Portoguese tongue; E.G.“tea” is "cha" in Portoguese, as in Chinese Mandarin and Japanese. Camellias were cultivated outdoor, in aristocratic parks, and they are nowadays the largest camellia trees in Europe. The recently founded Region is fueling new enthusiasm, also driven by the easy climate. Besides the Garden of Excellence in Sintra, you can find wonderful camellia parks in and around Porto.
Azores are a botanic park by themselves. Thanks to their relative isolation, the aristocratic parks of Azores have preserved from extinction some varieties, as the so-called “Cup of beauty” (="Taca de formosura"), a old Chinese variety of Camellia japonica, probably among the top nicest camellias, with its curved petals, which was believed as extinct in both England and China.
Swiss camellia area is mainly close to the Italian border, where gardens can exploit the mild sub-alpine climate. Swiss Gradens of Excellence are very close to each other, around Locarno. Those gardens are also very close to the Italian gardens of Lago Maggiore, and only 30 kilometers from Villa Anelli. Specifically, the Camllietum of Locarno, on the lake shore, offers a wide range of species and varieties
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