Camellias were one of John Brookes’ go-to plants both for structure and winter colour.  He loved the fact that camellias bloom for such a long period of time.

Our plant-of-the-month this December is Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ which was one of John Brookes’ favourites.  While camellias are generally popular winter- and spring-flowering shrubs because of the beauty of their flowers and glossy leaves, this form is just a little more special because it is often the first to bloom here at Denmans Garden and it blooms for most of the winter.  It has the additional appeal that its’ white flowers don’t turn brown and unsightly when there is a frost.  It’s first blossoms appeared at the beginning of December, much to the delight of the local bumblebees.

This dainty camellia bears small, fragrant, single white flowers with bright yellow stamens that contrast beautifully with dark blue-green, glossy, pointed leaves. The new growth is a beautiful dark bronze in springtime and its eventual height and spread is 1.5-2.5m x 1-1.5m.  Slow growing, our Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ is quite wide and large due to its probable age.

Planted under the Metasequoia beside
the Walled Garden, it is in a somewhat shady spot that is protected from some of the harshest winter weather and from the early morning sunlight which can damage flower buds after a frost.  Although the soil here is neutral, there are places throughout the garden that seem to be acidic enough to support camellias which prefer acidic soil.

A low-maintenance plant, Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ has rightly been awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the Royal Horticultural Society.