A blooming success: International Camellia Garden dazzles at Vergelegen

15 August 2023

Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West hosted guided tours of its renowned International Camellia Garden of Excellence this month (11 and 12 August), leaving garden lovers in awe at the abundant pink, white and red winter-flowering blooms.

Visitors embarked on a journey of discovery through the remarkable collection of over 1000 camellia shrubs and trees, comprising about 550 cultivars. The collection consists of both locally bred specimens, and camellias bred in countries such as France, China, Japan and the United States.

Visitors were treated to insights into the meticulous care and dedication required to maintain this stunning collection, which has contributed to Vergelegen being home to the only International Camellia Garden in Africa, and one of only two in the southern hemisphere.

Resident horticulturist Richard Arm said the acidic soil, abundant water, and shade provided by trees in summer contributed to ideal camellia-growing conditions. The oldest camellias at Vergelegen are about 100 years old, and the garden team has invested in planting many more camellias during the past two years.

The camellias will continue to dazzle for another month. Visitors can stroll through the gardens at their own pace, or book for a guided heritage and garden walking tour. Weather permitting, the tour departs from the wine tasting centre at 09h30 daily. The cost is R60/person, book through the Wine Tasting Centre 021 847 2111.