The first winter-flowering pink, red and white blooms are blossoming at South Africa’s only international camellia garden of excellence – and flower fans are already booking for the annual camellia weekend at Vergelegen estate in Somerset West. This garden, one of 39 international camellia gardens of excellence in the world, and one of only two in the southern hemisphere has a remarkable collection of about 550 camellia cultivars. These have been sourced locally and as far afield as France, Japan and America. There are about 1 000 specimens in total, with glossy foliage and an array of blooms that can be viewed from now until early spring. Camellia fever will peak during the camellia weekend, on Saturday July 27 and Sunday July 28. The estate will offer two daily guided tours of the camellia garden each day, followed by refreshments in the Stables family restaurant. The tours will depart from Stables at 9am and 2.30pm. Each hour-and-a half tour, led by estate horticulturist Richard Arm, accommodates 25 people. Booking is essential. Tickets cost R140 and include the entry fee, tea/coffee and a selection of cakes at Stables. Contact 021 847 2156 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
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