Camellias at Vergelegen

Vergelegen wine estate’s international camellia garden of excellence in Somerset West will host its annual camellia celebration on the weekend of Saturday July 28 and Sunday July 29.

The garden was first established decades ago on the 318-year-old wine estate. It is a member of a collection of only 39 international camellia gardens of excellence in the world. Vergelegen received this accolade eight years ago, and celebrates it every year.

The collection of camellias comprises about 550 cultivars, developed locally and as far afield as France, Japan and America. There are about 1 000 specimens, with glossy foliage and a glorious array of red, white and pink-coloured blooms.

The camellia weekend will offer guided tours of the camellia garden, followed by refreshments in the Stables family restaurant. This year the tours will depart from Stables at 9am and 2.30pm. Each tour, led by the estate horticulturist Richard Arm, lasts one and a half hours and accommodates up to 30 people, so booking is essential. The cost is R130 and includes entry, tea/coffee and a selection of cakes at Stables.

The camellias have been planted in three main areas: at the bottom of the great lawn; near the Camphors restaurant; and below an expanse of yellowwoods accessed by a swing bridge over the Lourens River, the only South African river that is officially a Protected Natural Environment (PNE).

To book for the camellia celebration, call 021 847 2156 or visit stables@vergelegen.co.za

For more information about international camellia gardens of excellence, visit www.internationalcamellia.org/about-this-programme

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