Switzerland’s special flower
To see magnolias and camellias in all their lipstick shades of perfection you could take your chances with the weather in Cornwall. Or you could head for Locarno, Switzerland. This town on the shores of Lake Maggiore hosts an annual Camellia Festival (March 25-29). The sunny, humid climate and acid soil provide perfect growing conditions. Don’t miss these horticultural highlights:
Parco delle Camelie Locarno’s lakeside Camellia Park contains more than 900 varieties and is the setting for the annual festival where freshly cut flowers are displayed in vases (0041 (0) 848 091 091; camellia.ch).
Gambarogno botanic garden Founded in 1955 by nurseryman and RHS Veitch medallist Otto Eisenhut, this is one of the richest
If you wanted to show a foreign visitor their first view of a little-known, unspoilt quintessential English country garden, you could do a lot worse than take them to Manor of Dean in Sussex. It boasts three acres of garden including herbaceous borders, a walled kitchen garden and meandering walks, all with unforgettable views to the South Downs. collections of magnolias and camellias in Europe, along with azaleas, rhododendrons, wisterias, peonies and dogwoods. Well worth a visit (91 795 1866; eisenhut.ch/ history-parco-botanico).
Brissago Islands botanic garden Set in Lake Maggiore, the 6.2-acre garden on the larger of these two islands was well known in the 1900s as the home of Russian-born Baroness Antonietta Saint Léger who spared no expense on her garden. Writer James Joyce was a visitor and stayed at the house. The garden is full of subtropical plants from the Mediterranean, South Africa, subtropical Asia, America and Oceania, as well as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias (91 791 4361; isolebrissago.ch). At this time of year there is a succession of spring bulbs and you can enjoy the feeling of expectation in the parts of the garden that will come into their own in the summer, whether in the impressively productive walled garden or the rose garden. Romantic connections with the Mitford family add to the atmosphere and the garden is undergoing a long-term plan of careful
To celebrate the move to its new West Sussex premises, Architectural Plants, one of the UK’s most innovative specialist nurseries, is offering one lucky reader the chance to win two VIP tickets to its launch party on Thursday March 19. The winner and improvements. All in all a picture of rural bliss.
Manor of Dean, Tillington, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 9AP. Open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme, Sunday, March 8, 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free. Homemade teas. No coaches. For other opening dates, see ngs.org.uk. guest will meet Tom Hart Dyke, author of The Cloud Garden. His kidnapping ordeal in the Columbian jungle was dramatised for Sky One. The winner will also take home a stunning Japanese Niwaki tree worth £1,800, plus tools and a care set. How to enter
Where do Niwaki trees come from? Email your answer to ap@pmwcom. co.uk with name, contact info and address. A winner will be drawn at random. Deadline is midnight March 15. For T&Cs, see architecturalplants.com.
Lovely in Locarno: camellias are at their best in the mild lakeside climate