Chiswick Announces New Camellia Festival

Chiswick House and Gardens Trust is launching a new festival to celebrate the world famous Chiswick camellia collection, believed to be the oldest large collection of its kind in the West

Chiswick House and Gardens Trust is launching a new festival to celebrate the world famous Chiswick camellia collection, believed to be the oldest large collection of its kind in the West.

The festival will run from 19 February 2011 to 20 March 2011.

This is a brand new event in the national garden calendar and the first time the Chiswick camellia collection can be seen in the newly restored Conservatory. This spectacular building was designed by Samuel Ware for the Sixth Duke of Devonshire and completed in 1813. Ninety-six metres long, with a glazed dome at its centre and glass pavilions at either end, it was a forerunner of those designed by Decimus Burton at Kew and Sir Joseph Paxton at Chatsworth.

In 1828 the Conservatory was planted with a large number of camellias. Most of these original trees survive today and are exceptionally rare, flowering every March with a fabulous array of blooms in pink, red, white and striped. The collections includes one of the world’s rarest Camellias, Middlemist’s Red, thought to be one of only two surviving examples; the other is in New Zealand.

These extraordinary plants were in danger of being lost as the conservatory fell into ruin in the early part of this century, but members of the International Camellia Society stepped in to tend them, ensuring their survival prior to a £12million restoration of Chiswick House Gardens, completed in June 2010.

The Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2011 provides a perfect destination for garden lovers and heritage enthusiasts alike.

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