The cultivation of camellias was started in 1940 with the seedlings brought from Angyo in Saitama prefecture. At that time, the cultivars with large flowers from Kanto district such as “Ohniji” or ”Akashigata” were preferred to plant.
Later the garden was arranged in 9 themes and a lot of species and cultiovars have been propagated according to the themes. Now we have about 1000 species and cultivars among the 3200 camellias and 5000 japonicas. That means this garden has become one of the largest camellia gardens in the world.
Various camellias, such as the cultivar with gorgeous flowers, with fragrance and with sophisticated flowers like waxworks, are waiting for you along with the cherry blossoms of Oshima-Zakura cherries in March.
We introduce you the features and how to enjoy the camellias of each zone.
The zone of foreign camellias
In the Edo period, Camellia japonica was introduced to Europe and welcomed as the flower that bloomed in the flowerless season.
Later a lot of cultivars were made in Europe and America. Because of their preference of gorgeous flowers, many cultivars with very large flowers of more than 13cm diameters and with semi double or formal double flowers were made.
Many hybrids were also made. We are exhibiting the camellia japonica and camellia reticulata hybrid.
The best flowering season of this zone begins in January.
The zone of tea ceremony flower display
In this zone, you can see the collection of the camellias frequently used in tea ceremonies. The collection includes many cultivars called with the name “Wabisuke” or “Wabishin”. Their flowering season is so early that you can see the flowers of them from November.
Kon- Wabisuke Camellia
The zone of flowers sorted by color
We exhibit the cultivars classified by the color of the flower such as red, white, yellow, purple, black or pink. Please enjoy the delicate tones of the colors of the flowers.
red color: San Dimas
white color: Kamo-honnami
yellow color: Camellia chrysantha
purple color: Shihozan
black color: Black Opal
pink color: Koshi-no-Yosooi
The zone of wild species of camellia
The species of camellias are distributed from the south of Aomori prefecture Japan to the southern China and South-East Asia. Five of them grow spontaneously in Japan and more than 200 spontaneous species have been found in whole these area. We are exhibiting the species which can be found in the areas of cold climate. “The tree of green tea (Cha-no-ki)” that is familiar to us is also one of the camellias with the scientific name “camellia sinensis”
The zone of flowers sorted by native region
There are the collections of camellias from Japan, sorted by their origins. “Higo Tsubaki”, the cultivars made in Higo have the outstanding features.
The zone of flowers sorted by blooming season
We exhibit the varieties according to their flowering period. The varieties behind the greenhouse flowers the earliest. From there the varieties are arranged from the early flowering varieties to the late ones counterclockwise. Some varieties are flowering somewhere in this zone from October to April.
Kikutoji（November - March）
Akizaki-benikarako（November - April）
The zone of camellia reticulata
We collected the cultivars of camellia reticulata in this zone. Please compare them with the cultivars of camellia japonica and you will be impressed by the difference between them.
Camellia reticulata hib.
The zone of varieties with mutations branch and leaf
You can enjoy not only the flowers but also leaf or bud variation of camellias. Besides this zone, you can see some leaf variations in front of the greenhouse.
【variation of leaf】
【variation of bud】
Greenhouse (open only during the camellia festival)
The exhibition in the greenhouse is arranged in 3 themes. Entering from the entrance, you will see big tree of camellia yuhsienensis at the center of octagon greenhouse. In this octagon greenhouse, scented camellias are exhibited.
When you go into the rectangle greenhouse, you will see the species in the center and the flowering cultivars in both side.
In the species corner, you can see Camellia chrysantha well known for its yellow flowers and Camellia amplexicalis with scarlet flowers like the waxwork.
In the cultivars corner, we replace the cultivars that finished flowering with the ones that is now flowering every day so that the visitors can always enjoy the cultivars in the best flowering season. We are growing many cultivars of various flowering season with the utmost care in the “cultivating greenhouse” that is not be opened to public.
Camellia Pavilion opened in 1992 by remodeling the lodge called “Kuroshio-Goya” which had built in 1938. But as it became too old and damaged, we started the reconstrution from 2009. In reconstructing, we tried to use the designs and materials of former lodge as much as possible. On 28 January 2011, renewaled Camellia Pavilion has opened.
In the pavilion, we exhibit camellia flower arrangements during the camellia festival and the dried flowers in the other season so that the visitors can enjoy camellia flowers through the year.
Camellia Pavilion opens 365 days and offers the visitors various imformations about camellias as below.
＜The history of the horticulture＞
Camellia oil has been made in Japan since 8th century. At that time Japanese people gave the religious worship to camellias. The cultivation of camellias as horticulture began in Muromachi Period. In the Edo Period, it became more and more popular among the people. Many cultivars were invented mainly by selecting or cross-breeding the wild japonicas, especially the ones with white flowers or with leaves of particular shapes.
＜The camellias in Izu-Oshima＞
The camellias in Izu-Oshima have been cultivated in order to produce oil from their seeds. The most popular method of cultivation is to chop down the trees other than camellias and make the camellia forest. As Izu-Oshima is an area where Camellia japonica grows wild, people can grow camellias and make camellia forests in this way.
You can see camellia forests managed as farms all over the island. As for Oshima Park, the forests around the camellia pavilion (Previasly, a hut called “Kuroshio-goya”) were originally planted for seed picking.
There are many uses of camellias other than making oil. Because the camellia trees are stiff, they are often used for woodwork and make good wood charcoals. Ashes from its branches or leaves are used for color fixatives. Leftovers from the camellia seeds can be used as fuel or fertilizer.
You can see particularly big camellia trees at the “camellia tunnel” in Senzu or the row of camellias in Sashikiji-Okinone.
There are a lot of points of view to enjoy camellias. We introduce some of them for you to know how to enjoy camellias in the garden and to be more satisfied with watching them.
＜Enjoying the flowers＞
① Enjoying the colors and size
Colors: there are red, white, yellow, purple, black and pink flowers. Unfortunately, there is no camellia with blue flowers. Patches or stripes of various colors sometimes appear on the camellia petals.
Size: Flowers can be classified as below according to the diameters.
■Miniature 4cm or less
■Small 4cm to 7cm
■Medium 7cm to 10cm
■Large 10cm to 13cm
■Very large over 13cm
② Enjoying the flower forms
Camellia japonicas, from which most cultivars have been made, have a single-petaled flower with 5 or 6 petals. Numerous cultivars have been made by selection or cross-blending for hundreds of years. As a result, some flowers have added petals, and other flowers have mutated to have petals instead of stamens.
③ Enjoying the stamens
Camellia flowers have an anther and a thread part connected to that anther at the center of the flower. These are called stamen. It is important to pay attention to stamen when viewing camellia flowers. We will explain about their colors and forms.