Saturday, March 28, 2009

Camellia Day

Which magazine has just astonished even Plymouth by naming it one of Britain's Top Ten Tourist Destinations. Accessibility to a range of wondrous places is part of the reason, and very valid it is. I'm looking over the Victorian gardens of Plymouth Hoe as I write, towards the hills of Dartmoor. And a sequence of ferries (two in winter, four in summer) spin you from the centre out to different stretches of Devon and Cornwall's coastal paths.
Last Sunday we took the Cremyl Ferry from Stonehouse across to Cornwall. You land near the grounds of Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, where early flowering in the National Camellia Collection (thanks to the warm Gulf Stream) made it a splendid place to celebrate Camellia Day.
We wandered the paths, following the trail, picking up camellia facts and role-playing people who are interested in camellias.
I've learned more since. 'The name camellia honors a pioneer botanist in the Far East, a German Jesuit missionary to the Philippines, Georg Kamel, who died in Manilla in 1706,' for example. That and other facts can be found in a rare and sweet camellia website from the university of South Carolina, who have forged its contents out of their collection of camellia books.