Camellietum Compitese
International Camellia Garden of Excellence
© Cooperativa Centro Culturale Compitese

History..

History of Camellias and of the Camellietum

Plants that are part of the specimen Camellia L. have had, since their arrival in Italy, around the end of the 1700s, great success as ornamental plants for both their capacity to adapt to our climate and their beauty owed to their evergreen leaves and the amazing blooming. But the main thing to trigger the excitement of collectors was the aptitude, starting from the first specimen that arrived in Italy (Camellia japonica L.), to obtain new plants with far more flashy flowers. In Tuscany the enthusiasts were particularly numerous: with time they created many cultivars (varieties created by men) and they imported the same number from other Italian regions and abroad. These camellia cultivars were planted in the most prestigious villas of Lucca of the time, getting a new trend started, the “camellia mania”, that reached its peak around the middle of the 1800s. these plants, now become monumental, constitute a priceless heritage thanks to both beauty and rarity: the hundreds of antique camellias still present in parks and gardens of villas in Lucca, not only they gift us with amazing blossoming, they also still remind us, with their names, historical personalities and facts. Aiming to conserve this remarkable botanic patrimony, since there is only one plant per specimen, people felt the need to create the Camellietum, which hosts every plant that made the history of Camellias during the 1800s in Tuscany. The area chosen to realize the ambitious project  – a terracing at the base of Monte Serra – is very adapt, for both the microclimate and the copious presence of water and the structure of the land. In March of 2005, in presence of local authorities but also some international authorities as the president of  International Camellia Society, Mr. Gregory Davis, and a group of representatives from Japan, Mr.Kotaro Tanimoto in particular, president of Exporter’s Tea Association of Shizuoka, that has been helping with the realization of the event,  the first camellia was planted. 
At first the Camellietum was occupying the space of four terracings, divided to also give a didactic purpose to the structure: at the entrance there were cultivars with simple flowers and some other specimen other than the Japonica ones, to give the visitor an approximate knowledge of the genus Camellia, moving on to the second plain you could find camellias with semi-double flowers, and then on the last two plains there are plants with double flowers. In 2006 the Camellietum, as it was usually called, comprehended around 150 plants and 120 different cultivars; in March of that same year doctor Andrea Dietrich, manager of the castle of Pillnitz (Dresden, Germany), planted in the garden a plant coming from the very famous and important German mother plant. In the next two years the Camellietum went through a slow but steady growth of plants and cultivars reaching, in March 2008, the number of 250 plants and around 200 different cultivars, such as Cultivar Apasia, Stella Polare (the North star) and Stella di Compito (star of Compito), considered seriously at risk of extinction. In 2008 the cultural centre (Centro Culturale), thanks to the contribution of council administration of Capannori, purchases a collection of ancient camellias from Mr Pozzanelli Mario from Marina di Carrara, great enthusiast that in more of thirty years of journeys, meetings and trades, had collected around 800 plants and 650 different cultivars. Since October 2008 the Camellietum has modified it structure and its essence: the extension of the park has gone from 2000 sq. m. to 7250 sq. m. and, with the last plants planted in March 2011, we’ve gone from 250 plants and 200 cultivars to the actual 1000 plants and 750 cultivars, not only Tuscan plants, and mostly from Lucca, but they came from all over Italy and many other European and extra-European countries. Recently a project for the overall requalification has been approved, financed by Regione Toscana and the municipality of  Capannori, that will help improving infrastructures to guarantee more control, maintenance and usability of the Camellietum.
Camellietum Compitese
International Camellia Garden of Excellence
© Cooperativa Centro Culturale Compitese

History..

History of Camellias and of the

Camellietum

Plants that are part of the specimen Camellia L. have had, since their arrival in Italy, around the end of the 1700s, great success as ornamental plants for both their capacity to adapt to our climate and their beauty owed to their evergreen leaves and the amazing blooming. But the main thing to trigger the excitement of collectors was the aptitude, starting from the first specimen that arrived in Italy (Camellia japonica L.), to obtain new plants with far more flashy flowers. In Tuscany the enthusiasts were particularly numerous: with time they created many cultivars (varieties created by men) and they imported the same number from other Italian regions and abroad. These camellia cultivars were planted in the most prestigious villas of Lucca of the time, getting a new trend started, the “camellia mania”, that reached its peak around the middle of the 1800s. these plants, now become monumental, constitute a priceless heritage thanks to both beauty and rarity: the hundreds of antique camellias still present in parks and gardens of villas in Lucca, not only they gift us with amazing blossoming, they also still remind us, with their names, historical personalities and facts. Aiming to conserve this remarkable botanic patrimony, since there is only one plant per specimen, people felt the need to create the Camellietum, which hosts every plant that made the history of Camellias during the 1800s in Tuscany. The area chosen to realize the ambitious project  – a terracing at the base of Monte Serra – is very adapt, for both the microclimate and the copious presence of water and the structure of the land. In March of 2005, in presence of local authorities but also some international authorities as the president of  International Camellia Society, Mr. Gregory Davis, and a group of representatives from Japan, Mr.Kotaro Tanimoto in particular, president of Exporter’s Tea Association of Shizuoka, that has been helping with the realization of the event,  the first camellia was planted.