Overlooking the Alpine Meadow and over to the Wild Garden, full of the hues of November’s autumnal tints, is what could be considered a perfect shrub. Here are some clues: glossy green leaves, lovely rounded form, pink-tinged buds and masses of rose-like blooms of the palest pinky-white.
So what is this November star performer? It’s Camellia sasanqua, and this particular specimen is a cultivar called ‘Paradise Helen’.
Camellia sasanqua are wonderful from mid-autumn onwards and the selection of available cultivars means you can find small ones, large ones, fragrant ones, single or double-flowered ones, white, pink, and ones suitable for hedging, or others magnificent as specimen plants in the middle of a lawn or a feature in a bed, and others that thrive in pots. (You can even use them for bonsai). These attributes mean this is a plant worthy of any garden.
This pretty C. sasanqua ‘Paradise Helen’ is about 2m (6.5ft) tall – it may reach up to 3m (10ft) tall – and almost as wide, and is planted under the shade of tall oak trees, accompanied by rhododendrons, other Paradise series camellias, and surrounded by evergreen foliage of pulmonarias, arums and hellebores. In the woodland area at the top of the Rock Garden you can see some brand new plantings of ‘Paradise Glow’, ‘Paradise Pearl’ and ‘Paradise Belinda’.
This one is a real beauty, though, with double white flowers that really shine out in the November light.
Read more here about growing and maintaining camellias.