Exhibition of Camellias at the Park of Pena
Camellias in full flower, annually sparkling throughout the gardens and estates of Sintra from October to April, prove the very landmark of the town’s winter season and also serve as the motif for balls and festivals. In order to uphold this botanical heritage, Parques de Sintra annually holds an exhibition of the very finest camellia collections in Sintra and thereby promoting this particular species through opening it up to a wider public.
On the 25th and the 26th of February, Parques de Sintra’s Camellia Exhibition takes place in the Garden of Camellias’ Greenhouse, in the Park of Pena, which was distinguished as a Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society in 2014. In addition to the Camellia Exhibition, you will be able to discover, not only this remarkable collection started by King Fernando II in the 19th century, but also a new and unique collection that is inaugurated this year. Entrance is free of charge for Pena Park ticket holders.
Special program - 25/02 > 3.00pm
- Opening session and awards ceremony
- Tea in the Park
- Guided tour to the Camellia Collection of the Park of Pena
Discover the camellias of the Park of Pena
Camellias, originally from China and Japan, were introduced in the Park of Pena by Ferdinand II, in the 1840s. Planted by the French gardener Bonnard and supplied by the most prestigious European nurseries, the Garden of Camellias features, in addition to international cultivars that were fashionable during the 19th century, many Portuguese cultivars, notably the collection of 18 cultivars of Camellia japonica that represents a genealogical tree of the nation founding House of Bragança, cultivated by Marques Loureiro, a horticulturist from Porto. The collection proved an award winner when picking up the first-class medal in the International Exhibition held in Porto’s Cristal Palace in 1865. To these, others were added, named in homage to various personalities from the 19th century court, the Arts and other events from down the long course of Portuguese history.
In 2023, a new collection is added to the existing one, including 10 hybrids of Camellia azalea, of Chinese origin. This species is native to a remote area located in the mountainous region of Guangdong Province, China. It was discovered in 1985 and is listed on the IUCN Red List as being in Critical Danger of Extinction. This species stands out from other camellias for having a longer flowering period, from May to February, with vibrant red and pink flowers, simple, with petals slightly split at the end, and distributed on the stem in a way similar to that of azaleas. This unique collection was acquired by Parques de Sintra from the nursery of António Assunção (Park Flavius), a specialist in camellias, and enhances the original collection in the Park of Pena.
Ever since 2009, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua, S.A. has advanced with the study, classification and restoration of the extensive camellia collection in the Park of Pena, which includes 3,858 specimens primarily concentrated into four key locations: the Garden of Camellias, the Garden of Queen Amélia, the Garden of the Countess of Edla and the Tea Hill. This inventory included the mapping of the specimens using geographic information systems and the botanical identification of both the different species as well as the respective cultivars featuring in the collection. Currently, the gardens contain a total of 386 cultivars belonging to 37 different species and 27 hybrids.
Species present in the Park of Pena Camellia Collection
Camellia microcarpa nitidissima