Having run both the UK’s leading camellia nursery and Britain’s first commercial blueberry farm, this indefatigable enquirer is still travelling the world, seeking to learn yet more.
Her eyes sparkling, whooping with laughter, Jennifer Trehane recalls her last visit, in 2015, to Oshima Island, known as Camellia Island to its neighbours in Japan. Three million Camellia japonica grow wild on the mountainside, their seeds gathered each year and pressed to make fine oils. The children at the local high school are trained in camellia culture and can identify every tree in the school’s extensive collection. There are camellia dances, camellia chopstick holders; dishes are garnished with radishes carved into camellia blooms. Invited in her capacity as a director of the International Camellia Society, Jennifer was surprised to land to the sound of chanting: Jen-ni-fer… Jen-ni-fer… “I was treated like a pop star,” giggles Jennifer, still tickled pink by the flagwaving crowds. On Camellia Island, the editor of the International Camellia Journal, author of the standard work on the genus and joint founder of the International Camellia Society Gardens of Excellence scheme is a far more important visitor than any president or pope.
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