Camellia, which grows in a public garden in Hornsby, was recently named after the International Camel Research Association, a landmark camel.
Camellia has grown and grown in gardens for over 1,000 years, so we do not consider them to be historically significant in Australia. For example, in one of the most famous gardens in Guangdong Province, China, it is difficult to beat one of the other trees that have been recognized by the growing community. It was planted in the Ming Dynasty at the beginning of the 17th century, and a variety of clones were selected from the Tang Dynasty, sometimes about 800.
But longevity is not everything, and Camelia, in less than 200 years in our gardens, still speaks volumes about our cultural and horticultural history.
Our award-winning Camelia was recognized as the best model of life C. Japanica Cassandra. What makes Cassandra unique is the fact that the former colony was chosen by William McCartar, one of the most influential gardeners. MacArthur is planted with collectors in England, Europe and Asia, and at the Camden Park Nursery Center, previously planted in Australian gardens.
In his notebooks, William describes Cassandra as a “red-purple … beautiful flower … very large.”
Despite colonial success, Cassandra is still very rare, but about 75 years ago, Max Cotton planted one in his 6.5-acre garden in Hornsby. For many years, in 1917, he bought a large, steep shrub at the head of the Blue Gum Valley and worked as a gardener. The Hornsby Council bought it after his death, named it Lisgar Gardens, and has protected it ever since.
Lisgar Gardens is a mystery to the Sydney fans outside of Hornsby, and I was mostly on my own when I went in search of Cassandra on a lucky day before it was locked up. The landscape is more normal as rotten roads lead downhill. One fall te shines in the shade of rocks, tree trunks and bird nests and sprays more than 200 camellias and leaves on sandy loam.
I found Cassandra on the corner of a sandwich, standing on a flight of stairs leading to a regular lawn. Siddiders do not tend to brag about history so there was no sign, just like a sign of age, it blooms on silver branches. The red flowers were beautiful, as William MacArthur had promised 172 years ago.