Report on the Survey of Autumn Flowering Camellias in the UK, 2015

Author: Bob Waters

Introduction

Informal discussions between some members of the ICS suggested that there is insufficient information on the performance of Autumn Flowering Camellias (AFCs) in the UK. This lack of information was most noticeable at the ICS stand at flower shows, when attempting to answer questions regarding the most suitable varieties for amateur gardeners in the UK. Of particular concern were questions regarding siting (i.e. orientation and shading), habit, flowering performance, hardiness, and the overall performance of specific named hybrids. There is, of course, some information in the catalogues of specialist camellia nurseries, but very little on the long term performance of these plants in gardens. In order to provide some answers, a survey form was distributed to ICS members and also to professionally run gardens throughout the UK.

Clearly, the information gathered in this way is dependent on the opinion of the person completing the form, and is therefore highly subjective. Nevertheless, it was hoped that the replies would throw some light on the performance of this class of camellia.

Organisation of the Survey

C.'Sparkling Burgundy'

'Sparkling Burgundy'

It was found convenient to divide the country into the same regions as are used to list the Royal Horticultural Societies partner gardens. The questionnaire was distributed to ICS members via their newsletter, and to professional gardens by email, at the beginning of 2015. A follow-up reminder was sent by email to both members and gardens in May 2015. A web-based version of the questionnaire was considered, but was found to require significant effort as well as substantial funding. The response from ICS members was disappointing in terms of numbers, but those that did reply provided very good information, whereas the professionally run gardens responded well and in detail. Unfortunately, the geographical distribution of the replies was confined to the more southerly parts of the UK, especially the south-west, making it impossible to make comparisons on a north-south basis.

Results

C. 'Yuletide''Yuletide'

The total number of individual plants for which information was provided is 134 and the total number of varieties reported is 68. The most frequently reported varieties are Narumigata with 8 entries, Hugh Evans with 7, Crimson King and Sparkling Burgundy with 6 each, and Rainbow and Rosea Plena (Hillier) with 5 each. The largest group is the Paradise series with a total of 24 examples, of which Paradise Blush, Paradise Glow and Paradise Little Liane at 4 each are the most numerous. The Winter’s series are also a large group with 10 entries.

In some cases, the respondent completed only part of the form, the information most often omitted being one or more of age, dimensions and hardiness.

The ages of the plants range from 2 to 100 years, with a bias towards young plants as is shown in the age profile in figure 1 (the total here is 111 because the ages of 23 examples were not given). This means that approximately 60% of the sample is 10 years old or less.

Fig1

Fig. 1     Age Distribution of Plants in Survey

 

Taking the whole sample of 134 plants the average score for some of the parameters can be evaluated singly by ignoring all other parameters. This has been done for hardiness, flowering performance, vigour, and general satisfaction, as shown in Table 1. These averages mask some curious variations. Note that the totals are less than the total number of plants because of blank entries in some boxes.

Table 1   Average Scores

Hardiness

H 3.6

Flowering Performance

Good 67;     average 37;   poor 26

Vigour

Vigorous 39;     average 64;   slow 26

General Satisfaction

3.5

 

The complete results, placed in rank order according to either hardiness, flowering performance, vigour and overall satisfaction are shown in Table 3.

Hardiness

On some occasions the hardiness rating was left blank. For these cases an average rating of H4 has been assumed on the grounds that a departure from this would probably have been noted. Most of the hardiness ratings were H3 or H4. There were eleven occasions when the top rating of H5 was given, as shown in Table 2. Of the other 4 entries for Crimson King, 2 were rated H4. However, 2 were not rated at all, and as one of these was claimed to be 100 years old, a high hardiness rating could be assumed. The examples of Narumigata are amongst the oldest in the survey responses. Three were rated H4 and two not rated at all. As one of the unrated ones is claimed to be 75 years old, it is reasonable to expect that Narumigata is H4/H5. Of the other Rainbow plants, one was given H4 and the remaining two were unrated. The two Sasanqua entries, aged 12 and 25 years old, were not qualified with the name of a variety. The other Claude Brivet was rated H4. Curiously, four of the Winter’s series were rated H3, these being Winter’s Charm, Winter’s Interlude, Winter’s Joy and Winter’s Toughie.

There did not appear to be any pattern to the distribution of rating H3, the lowest hardiness category, except for the Paradise series. Of the 23 entries for this group, 1 was rated H2 (the lowest rated plant in the survey), 7 were rated H3, 1 was rated H4, and the remaining 15 were not given a rating and were therefore assumed to be H4.

                                      Table 2   Hardiness Scores of H5

‘Crimson King’

2 out of 6 entries

‘Narumigata’

1 out of 8

‘Rainbow’

1 out of 5

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

1 out of 5

C.sasanqua

2 out of 2

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

1 out of 2

‘Snow Flurry’

1 out of 2

‘Winter’s Dream’

1 out of 1

‘Winter’s Paeony’

1 out of 1

 

Flowering Performance

C.grijsiiC. grijsii

As is shown in Table 1, most plants were rated good or average, and only 20 were rated poor (i.e. less than 18% of those rated). However, in many cases the rating was qualified by the comment that the plant needed several years to establish before flowering well and being deserving of a good or average rating.

Again, no particular pattern revealed itself, except in the Paradise series, where 13, i.e. more than half the 24 Paradise plants, were rated poor. Of the others, 2 were average and 9 good. This means that if the Paradise plants are excluded from the total sample, a poor flowering performance was recorded only 7 times.

Vigour

Clearly, some varieties are naturally more vigorous than others. For example, Shishigashira is known to be slow growing. However an interesting feature of this data is the inconsistency in the ratings for some varieties. Unfortunately, much of this could be due to differences in growing conditions, and not a property of the variety. Nevertheless it is useful to be able to identify those varieties which are considered vigorous.

General Satisfaction

Again there is considerable variation in the ratings given to plants of the same variety. For example the four examples of Paradise Blush are rated 1, 2, 3 and 5 respectively. The Paradise series generally has provoked a wide range of opinions, but the average score for all the Paradise series taken together is mid-range at 3.1. Only 1 other plant, Plantation Pink, was given the lowest satisfaction score of 1, but the other example of this variety was rated 4.

The varieties with the most consistently high ratings (4 and 5) are Crimson King, Hugh Evans, Narumigata, Rainbow and Sparkling Burgundy.

Conclusion

The ratings given in the replies to the questionnaire are clearly dependant on the opinions of the respondent as well as the circumstances of the local details of the site where the plants are grown. Nevertheless the following tentative conclusions can be drawn:

  • The performance of autumn flowering camellias is highly variable, regardless of variety.
  • Siting and general cultivation are significant factors, more so than for spring flowering camellias.
  • The Paradise series appears to require particular care.
  • The Winter’s series does not appear to offer a significant advantage in terms of hardiness, and several respondents noted that some of these plants have been susceptible to set-back due to bark split.
  • Certain well-known varieties confirmed their overall reliability, such as ‘Hugh Evans’, ‘Narumigata’, ‘Sparkling Burgundy’, ‘Rainbow’, ‘Crimson King’ and ‘Yuletide’.
  • Only ‘Narumigata’ and ‘Rainbow’ had examples rated top in all four of hardiness, flowering ability, vigour and overall satisfaction, though ‘Yuletide’ would have joined them if it had been rated 5 for hardiness rather than 4.

Table 3       Results in Rank Order - from best to worst

Results Ordered by Hardiness

Results Ordered by Flowering

Results Ordered by Vigour

Results Ordered by Satisfaction

H3 Hardy to -5C

H4 Hardy to -10C

H5 Hardy to -15C

 

C = Good

A = Average

P = Poor

E = Erratic

 

V = Vigorous

A = Average

 

5 = Good

4

3 = Fair

2

1 = Low

 

‘Crimson King’

5

‘Azumakagami’

g

C.oleifera

v

‘Bonanza’

5

‘Crimson King’

5

‘Baronesa de Soutelhino’

g

‘Chansonette’

v

‘Crimson King’

5

‘Narumigata’

5

‘Bonanza’

g

‘Dazzler’

v

‘Dazzler’

5

‘Rainbow’

5

‘Chansonette’

g

‘Dazzler’

v

‘Dazzler’

5

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

5

‘Chansonette’

g

C.grijsii

v

‘Gay Sue’

5

C.sasanqua

5

‘Christmas Rose’

g

C.grijsii

v

C.grijsii

5

C.sasanqua

5

‘Crimson King’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

v

C.grijsii

5

‘Snow Flurry’

5

‘Crimson King’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

v

‘Hugh Evans’

5

Souvenir de Claude Brivet

5

‘Crimson King’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

v

‘Hugh Evans’

5

‘Winter's Dream’

5

‘Dazzler’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

v

‘Hugh Evans’

5

‘Winter's Peony’

5

‘Dazzler’

g

‘Mignonne’

v

‘Maiden's Blush’

5

‘Azumakagami’

4

‘Dazzler’

g

‘Minata-no-akebono’

v

‘Minata-no-akebono’

5

‘Baronesa de Soutelhino’

4

‘Fukuzutsumi’

g

‘Narumigata’

v

‘Narumigata’

5

‘Bonanza’

4

‘Gay Sue’

g

‘Narumigata’

v

‘Narumigata’

5

C.sinensis

4

C.grijsii

g

‘Narumigata’

v

‘Paradise Audrey’

5

C.oleifera

4

C.grijsii

g

‘New Dawn’

v

‘Paradise Belinda’

5

‘Chansonette’

4

‘Hiryû’

g

‘Paradise Audrey’

v

‘Paradise Blush’

5

‘Christmas Rose’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

g

‘Paradise Belinda’

v

‘Paradise Glow’

5

‘Crimson King’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

g

‘Paradise Blush’

v

‘Paradise Helen’

5

‘Crimson King’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

g

‘Paradise Glow’

v

‘Paradise Pearl’

5

‘Dazzler’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

g

‘Paradise Helen’

v

‘Polar Ice’

5

‘Dazzler’

4

‘Maiden's Blush’

g

‘Paradise Hilda’

v

‘Rainbow’

5

‘Fuji-no-mine’

4

‘Mignonne’

g

‘Paradise Little Liane’

v

‘Rainbow’

5

‘Fukuzutsumi’

4

‘Minata-no-akebono’

g

‘Paradise Pearl’

v

‘Rainbow’

5

‘Gay Sue’

4

‘Narumigata’

g

‘Paradise Vanessa’

v

‘Show Girl’

5

C.grijsii

4

‘Narumigata’

g

‘Rainbow’

v

‘Show Girl’

5

C.grijsii

4

‘Narumigata’

g

‘Rainbow’

v

‘Snow Flurry’

5

‘Hiryû’

4

‘Narumigata’

g

‘Rainbow’

v

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

5

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘New Dawn’

g

C.sasanqua

v

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

5

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘Paradise Audrey’

g

C.sasanqua

v

‘Winter's Peony’

5

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘Paradise Belinda’

g

‘Show Girl’

v

‘Yuletide’

5

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘Paradise Blush’

g

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

v

‘Azumakagami’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘Paradise Glow’

g

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

v

‘Baronesa de Soutelhino’

4

‘Ishtar’

4

‘Paradise Helen’

g

‘Yoimachi’

v

C.sinensis

4

‘Jean May’

4

‘Paradise Hilda’

g

‘Yoimachi’

v

‘Chansonette’

4

‘Jennifer Susan’

4

‘Paradise Little Liane’

g

‘Yuletide’

v

‘Chansonette’

4

‘Maiden's Blush’

4

‘Paradise Pearl’

g

‘Yuletide’

v

‘Christmas Rose’

4

‘Mignonne’

4

‘Paradise Vanessa’

g

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

s to v

‘Crimson King’

4

‘Minata-no-akebono’

4

‘Plantation Pink’

g

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

s to v

‘Fukuzutsumi’

4

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Polar Ice’

g

‘Azumakagami’

a

‘Hiryû’

4

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Rainbow’

g

‘Baronesa de Soutelhino’

a

‘Hugh Evans’

4

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Rainbow’

g

C.sinensis

a

‘Ishtar’

4

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Rainbow’

g

‘Chansonette’

a

‘Jennifer Susan’

4

‘Paradise Glow’

4

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

g

‘Christmas Rose’

a

‘Mignonne’

4

‘Plantation Pink’

4

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

g

‘Cinnamon Cindy’

a

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Plantation Pink’

4

s.pink

g

‘Crimson King’

a

‘Narumigata’

4

‘Plantation Pink’

4

s.red

g

‘Crimson King’

a

‘New Dawn’

4

‘Polar Ice’

4

s.white

g

‘Crimson King’

a

‘Paradise Hilda’

4

‘Rainbow’

4

‘Shishigashira’

g

‘Crimson King’

a

‘Paradise Little Liane’

4

‘Rainbow’

4

‘Show Girl’

g

‘Dazzler’

a

‘Paradise Vanessa’

4

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

4

‘Show Girl’

g

‘Fragrans’

a

‘Plantation Pink’

4

‘Setsugekka’

4

‘Snow Flurry’

g

‘Fukuzutsumi’

a

‘Plantation Pink’

4

‘Shishigashira’

4

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

g

‘Gay Sue’

a

‘Rainbow’

4

‘Shisgigashira’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

g

‘Hiryû’

a

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

4

‘Shishigashira’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

a

C.sasanqua

4

‘Show Girl’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

a

‘Shishigashira’

4

‘Show Girl’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

g

‘Hugh Evans’

a

‘Shishigashira’

4

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

4

‘Sugar Dream’

g

‘Ishtar’

a

‘Shishigashira’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

C.x vernallis ‘Dawn’

g

‘Jean May’

a

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Winter's Snowman’

g

‘Maidens Blush’

a

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Winter's Peony’

g

‘Maiden's Blush’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Yoimachi’

g

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Yoimachi’

g

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

4

‘Star Above Star’

4

‘Yuletide’

g

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Sugar Dream’

4

‘Sugar Dream’

4

‘Yuletide’

g

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Tanya’

4

‘Tanya’

4

‘Yuletide’

g

‘Papaver’

a

‘Variegata’

4

‘Variegata’

4

‘Yume’

g

‘Paradise Blush’

a

‘Winter's Charm’

4

‘Winter's Charm’

4

C.sinensis

a

‘Paradise Blush’

a

‘Winter's Snowman’

4

‘Winter's Charm’

4

‘Cinnamon Cindy’

a

‘Paradise Glow’

a

‘Yoimachi’

4

‘Winter's Toughie’

4

‘Crimson King’

a

‘Paradise Glow’

a

‘Yuletide’

4

‘Yoimachi’

4

‘Fragrans’

a

‘Paradise Glow’

a

‘Yuletide’

4

‘Yuletide’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

a

‘Paradise Hilda’

a

‘Yume’

4

‘Yuletide’

4

‘Hugh Evans’

a

‘Paradise Hilda’

a

C.oleifera

3

‘Yuletide’

4

‘Ishtar’

a

‘Paradise Little Liane’

a

‘Cinnamon Cindy’

3

‘Chansonette’

3

‘Jennifer Susan’

a

‘Paradise Little Liane’

a

‘Crimson King’

3

‘Cinnamon Cindy’

3

‘Maidens Blush’

a

‘Paradise Pearl’

a

‘Crimson King’

3

‘Crimson King’

3

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Paradise Pearl’

a

‘Dazzler’

3

‘Crimson King’

3

‘Narumigata’

a

‘Plantation Pink’

a

‘Fragrans’

3

‘Dazzler’

3

‘Papaver’

a

‘Plantation Pink’

a

‘Hugh Evans’

3

‘Fragrans’

3

‘Paradise Glow’

a

‘Rainbow’

a

‘Hugh Evans’

3

‘Fragrans’

3

‘Paradise Glow’

a

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

a

‘Maidens Blush’

3

‘Hugh Evans’

3

‘Plantation Pink’

a

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

a

‘Narumigata’

3

‘Hugh Evans’

3

‘Plantation Pink’

a

‘Setsugekka’

a

‘Narumigata’

3

‘Maidens Blush’

3

‘Rainbow’

a

‘Snow Flurry’

a

‘Narumigata’

3

‘Narumigata’

3

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

a

‘Snow Flurry’

a

‘Papaver’

3

‘Narumigata’

3

C.sasanqua

a

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

a

‘Paradise Blush’

3

‘Narumigata’

3

‘Setsugekka’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

a

‘Paradise Glow’

3

‘New Dawn’

3

‘Shishigashira’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

a

‘Paradise Glow’

3

‘Papaver’

3

‘Shishigashira’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

a

‘Paradise Pearl’

3

‘Paradise Audrey’

3

‘Snow Flurry’

a

‘Tanya’

a

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

3

‘Paradise Belinda’

3

‘Souvenir de Claude Brivet’

a

C.x vernallis ‘Dawn’

a

s.pink

3

‘Paradise Blush’

3

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

a

‘Vanessa’

a

s.red

3

‘Paradise Blush’

3

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

a

‘Variegata’

a

s.white

3

‘Paradise Blush’

3

Unknown Variety

a

‘Winter's Charm’

a

C.sasanqua

3

‘Paradise Blush’

3

‘Star Above Star’

a

‘Winter's Charm’

a

‘Setsugekka’

3

‘Paradise Gillian’

3

‘Variegata’

a

‘Winter's Interlude’

a

‘Snow Flurry’

3

‘Paradise Glow’

3

‘Winter's Charm’

a

‘Winter's Joy’

a

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

3

‘Paradise Glow’

3

‘Winter's Charm’

a

‘Winter's Peony’

a

‘Star Above Star’

3

‘Paradise Glow’

3

‘Winter's Charm’

a

‘Winter's Snowman’

a

Unknown variety

3

‘Paradise Helen’

3

‘Winter's Dream’

a

‘Winter's Toughie’

a

C.x vernallis ‘Dawn’

3

‘Paradise Hilda’

3

‘Winter's Interlude’

a

‘Winter's Toughie’

a

‘Winter's Charm’

3

‘Paradise Hilda’

3

‘Winter's Joy’

a

‘Yuletide’

a

‘Winter's Charm’

3

‘Paradise Hilda’

3

‘Winter's Toughie’

a

‘Yume’

a

‘Winter's Dream’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

3

‘Winter's Toughie’

a

‘Bonanza’

s

‘Winter's Joy’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane

3

C.oleifera

p

‘Crimson King’

s

‘Winter's Toughie’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

3

‘Crimson King’

p

‘Fragrans’

s

‘Yoimachi’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

3

‘Fragrans’

p

‘Fuji-no-mine’

s

‘Crimson King’

2

‘Paradise Pearl’

3

‘Fuji-no-mine’

p

‘Jennifer Susan’

s

‘Fragrans’

2

‘Paradise Pearl’

3

‘Hugh Evans’

p

‘Paradise Belinda’

s

‘Fuji-no-mine’

2

‘Paradise Pearl’

3

‘Jean May’

p

‘Paradise Blush’

s

‘Hugh Evans’

2

‘Paradise Vanessa’

3

‘Narumigata’

p

‘Paradise Gillian’

s

‘Jean May’

2

‘Rainbow’

3

‘Paradise Belinda’

p

‘Paradise Little Liane’

s

‘Paradise Belinda’

2

‘Rainbow’

3

‘Paradise Blush’

p

‘Plantation Pink’

s

‘Paradise Blush’

2

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

3

‘Paradise Blush’

p

‘Polar Ice’

s

‘Paradise Gillian’

2

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

3

‘Paradise Blush’

p

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

s

‘Paradise Glow’

2

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

3

‘Paradise Gillian’

p

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

s

‘Paradise Hilda’

2

s.pink

3

‘Paradise Glow’

p

s.pink

s

‘Paradise Hilda’

2

s.red

3

‘Paradise Hilda’

p

s.red

s

‘Paradise Little Liane’

2

s.white

3

‘Paradise Hilda’

p

s.white

s

‘Paradise Little Liane’

2

‘Showa Supreme’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

p

‘Shishigashira’

s

‘Paradise Little Liane’

2

‘Snow Flurry’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

p

‘Shishigashira’

s

‘Paradise Pearl’

2

‘Sparkling Burgundy’

3

‘Paradise Little Liane’

p

‘Shishigashira’

s

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

2

Unknown variety

3

‘Paradise Pearl’

p

‘Showa Supreme’

s

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

2

C.x vernallis ‘Dawn’

3

‘Paradise Pearl’

p

‘Star Above Star’

s

‘Showa Supreme’

2

‘Vanessa’

3

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

p

‘Sugar Dream’

s

‘Vanessa’

2

‘Variegata’

3

C.sasanqua

p

Unknown variety

s

‘Variegata’

2

‘Winter's Charm’

3

‘Showa Supreme’

p

‘Variegata’

s

‘Winter's Interlude’

2

‘Winter's Interlude’

3

‘Tanya’

p

‘Winter's Charm’

s

‘Winter's Toughie’

2

‘Winter's Joy’

3

‘Vanessa’

p

‘Winter's Dream’

s

‘Paradise Blush’

1

‘Winter's Toughie’

3

‘Variegata’

p

‘Show Girl’

0

‘Plantation Pink’

1

‘Winter's Snowman’

3

‘Crimson King’

0

‘Crimson King’

0

‘Crimson King’

0

‘Yoimachi’

3

‘Narumigata’

0

‘Narumigata’

0

‘Narumigata’

0

‘Yume’

3

‘Rainbow’

0

‘Rainbow’

0

‘Rainbow’

0

‘Paradise Belinda’

2

‘Rosea Plena Hillier)’

0

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

0

‘Rosea Plena (Hillier)’

0


 
 

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