The Show celebrates these beautiful blooms within the elegant Chiswick House Conservatory, a 300ft glasshouse designed by Samuel Ware in 1813 for the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
The Chiswick House Camellia collection is a national treasure and believed to be the oldest collection under glass in the Western world. It includes rare and historically important examples of these beautiful plants, with a gorgeous array of blooms; pink, red, white and striped. Many of these are descended from the original planting in 1828. Among them is the unique Middlemist’s Red, originally brought to Britain from China in 1804 by Londoner John Middlemist, a nurseryman from Shepherds Bush. It is one of only two in the world known to exist – the other being on the other side of the globe in Waitangi in New Zealand.
New for this year, the shop will be selling a small selection of plants propagated from 12 heritage varieties in the rare Chiswick House Camellia collection. This exciting initiative is part of a historically important conservation programme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund in collaboration with The International Camellia Society, Camellia expert John Price, Tregothnan Gardens and Trehane Nursery.
These extraordinary plants were in danger of being lost as the Conservatory fell into ruin in the last years of the 20th century, but members of the International Camellia Society stepped in to tend them, ensuring their survival prior to the major restoration of Chiswick House Gardens, completed in June 2010. Since then, the Trust has initiated a propagation programme to ensure the future of these rare specimens and is giving keen gardeners a fantastic opportunity to purchase a choice of 12 varieties from the original collection.
There will also be other Camellia plants and Camellia inspired merchandise including a limited edition print by Sir Peter Blake, who lives in Chiswick, as well as a tote bag designed by the well-known local designer, Marthe Armitage. The award winning Chiswick House Café will be serving a delicious seasonal menu.
The 2015 show includes an exhibition on the history of Chiswick’s stunning Conservatory. And for the first time in five years, admission to the show will be free.
Director, Clare O’Brien, who joined the Trust in December 2013, says “We have made admission free to the show this year as we want as many people as possible to come and enjoy our unique collection of Camellias and learn about their fascinating history. We have some rare and beautiful varieties both in the Conservatory and growing outside. We hope people will recognise the importance of our work and give a voluntary donation to support preserving and enhancing the Grade I listed park, enjoyed by around one million people all year for free.”
The Chiswick House Camellia Show 2015
Chiswick House, London, W4 2QN
Dates: 28th February to 29th March, 2015
Conservatory opening hours: Daily 10:00am – 4pm (Closed Mondays)
Chiswick House: Special Camellia Show weekend openings Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm
Group bookings, guided tours and information on admission prices for Chiswick House: www.chgt.org.uk
Member since: 9th July 2012
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