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A Camellia Garden of Excellence

Araluen Botanic Park is one of only four gardens in Australia recognised by the International Camellia Society as a Camellia Garden of Excellence. Araluen’s first plantings of Camellias took place around the Chalet Healy tearooms and Totterdell cottage in the late 1930s, and these plantings thrive to this day in this privileged position. The Camellia japonica Alba Plena (c. Japonica) is now nearly five (5) metres tall and still frames the entry to the Chalet Healy Log Cabin (circa 1937) along the cobbled pathway on the central terrace of the gardens.

At Araluen we grow three species of Camellias to link the garden, by planting in such a manner to entice visitors to follow them as a trail. They form a fantastic lush green backdrop of foliage to other plants and create stunning picture against the grand canopy of Australian Bushland Marris Trees. The collection come into their own as a magnificent showcase from mid-May through to Spring. The Sasanqua variety start flowering in the winter months, and then in Springtime the double camellias and formal looking flowers put on a magnificent show with wonderful blooms. They also tempt visitors to keep strolling through the gardens to see that next burst of colour just another few metres down the path.

One of our varieties in the Park is the “Dr Clifford Parks” which can draw people deeper into the gardens when it covers itself with enormous, dinner plate sized flowers of deep scarlet. Dr Clifford Parks is a reticulata Camellia that is less commonly known in the camellia family, yet as the largest flowering of the entire camellia group, it really is spectacular.

Many people consider Camellias difficult to grow, when, in fact, they are very easy to grow once their needs are understood and met. Camellias are mostly shade plants except for the C. sasanquas. Camellia sasanquas are the most adaptable and hardiest of the Camellia species thriving in full sun and semi shade. They are fairly drought resistant, not affected by many pests and diseases, tolerate regular pruning and flower in late autumn early winter.

Camellias need moist acidic conditions, and being surface rooting need to be well mulched. So Araluen Botanic Park provides the perfect home for our varieties. As they dislike being cultivated around because it can injure the surface root systems, we keep allow them to put on their own show individually. We feed lightly using a mixture of Sudden Impact, blood & bone & a slow-release fertiliser each two months. Light pruning of the older wood is done on a regular basis to keep the plant rejuvenated. The flowers grow best on new growth, so the art is in knowing the best time of year to prune.

We invite you to visit Araluen over the next few months to see Western Australia’s best collections of Camellias. One of only four internationally recognised Camellia Gardens of excellence in Australia. If you have a group and would like a specialised tour, then email us so we can book this in for your group info@araluenbotanicpark.com.au.

Book your visit here https://araluenbotanicparkfoundationinc.rezdy.com/

To read more about our Camellia collection visit https://araluenbotanicpark.com.au/gardens/camellias/

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