Greenway, once the holiday home of Agatha Christie, now cared for by the National Trust, is renowned for its spring garden, filled with magnolias and rhododendrons, as well as a vast collection of camellias. This collection, and the care that the garden team put into cataloguing, caring and cultivating them, has seen Greenway accredited the International Camellia Society’s ‘Camellia Garden of Excellence.’ Greenway is the first National Trust garden with this accreditation, and one of just seven gardens in the UK to be recognised as a ‘Camellia Garden of Excellence’ by the International Camellia Society.
International Camellia Society
The International Camellia Society are responsible for promoting knowledge, research and development of camellias on a worldwide basis. They hold a record of many camellia gardens and those meeting detailed, prescribed criteria are given the ultimate accolade of ‘Garden of Excellence.’ Being recognised by the International Camellia Society a ‘Camellia Garden of Excellence’ pays tribute to Greenway’s history with camellias, and recognises the camellia collection as important.
Camellias at Greenway
Camellias have been associated with Greenway since at least the 1830s and every new owner has added to the collection over the generations. Some of those have been highly respected plantsmen of their day such as the Bolitho and Williams families.
The camellia collection consists of many different varieties, including a large number of Camellia x williamsii cultivars. This group owes its origins to Mr J. C. Williams of Caerhays, who in 1923 crossed Camellia japonica with Camellia saluenensis, the resulting plant given his family name, Camellia x williamsii.
The Williams family lived at Greenway from 1919 to 1937, before Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan bought Greenway to use as their holiday home. So we have the Williams family history associated with Greenway, obvious links to Caerhays and plant breeding, and Mr. J. C. Williams was also one of the first Cornish landowners to donate land to the National Trust. With all these links and the fact that Camellia x williamsii grows well here, picking it as a focus was an obvious way to pay tribute to the plant heritage on our doorstep.
Finding out more about the garden
The garden team lead a garden walk at Greenway every day at 2pm, which is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the garden’s history, see the collection of camellias first hand, and pick up tips for caring for your own garden. The walks are free to join, normal admission prices to Greenway apply. To book a parking space for Greenway, visit the website or call 01803 842382.