The camellias from the spring garden at National Trust Greenway were centre stage at the RHS Early Spring Flower Show at Rosemoor on Saturday 11 March, stealing the show with 14 prizes. The faultless flowers were awarded five 1st places, four 2nd and five 3rd out of a total of 17 entries from the garden of Agatha Christie’s holiday home.
The garden team have developed a winning strategy when it comes to showcasing camellias, which Senior Gardener Colin Clark explained: ‘We leave the flower on the plant until the bloom is fully open.
‘This is a risky tactic; we could pick them earlier and keep them in the glass houses for a couple of days in the hope that they flower in time, or leave them on the plant and keep our fingers crossed that they don’t get damaged by the wind and the rain.
‘Our decision to leave them to open fully on the plant this year paid off, and had our pick of perfect blooms.
‘The camellias only flower for a few weeks, and we have worked hard over the years to make sure that our collection is healthy and stunning.
‘The show was in the library and learning centre at Rosemoor, and being inside with the heating on was great for the gardeners but the plants did suffer. Many displays started to wilt, so it was turned off and doors opened.
‘The judges are looking for flowers which have no blemishes, have an even colour, symmetrical petals and a full round shape, so every care is taken to make sure the ones that we’ve grown to those standards are looking their best by the time the judges are examining them.’
At Greenway there’s a tradition of entering flower shows which began with Agatha Christie herself. The National Trust gardeners uphold that tradition and celebrate the quality of flowers which thrive in the spring garden, and this was reflected by their success at the RHS Early Spring Flower Show. They will be entering the RHS Garden Show at Rosemoor in April, and hoping a repeat performance.
Find out more about Greenway’s renowned spring garden nestled on the banks of the River Dart, complete with camellia garden, as well as magnolias, rhododendrons and swathes of flowering bulbs by visiting www.nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway. Greenway is open daily.
(from a press release)