Camellia for Foliage, Flowers, Fruit & Tea
In answer to the original Objectives of my Study Tour I concluded that:
1) Is it possible to have an economically/culturally viable tea growing industry in the UK? Yes, it is possible to have an economically/culturally viable tea growing industry in the UK albeit on a limited scale a) Trials to develop tea in new areas should be comprehensive because rushing is a chief cause of initial failure. b) Tea has positive long term market growth prospects. c) Tea is already challenging coffee as a socially acceptable drink d) Beware that the vast majority of tea is produced in developing countries and is paid for in hard currency. These producer nations are therefore loathe to limit production and this will keep end price of the basic commodity down. e) UK would-be producers therefore need to concentrate on quality, uniqueness of product and add-on enterprise.
2) Can oil be produced in the UK? Not possible, principally because of climate.
3) Is further development of the camellia foliage market possible? Yes, there is considerable scope for increasing sales of camellia foliage. It has many qualities above other comparable plants
4) Can the volume of camellia sales as garden plants be increased? a) Yes. Camellia is particularly suited to the UK's maritime climate. b) Further development of the colour range and other characteristics will extend the appeal of the genus in popular gardening within 10 years.
Further Conclusions resulting from my Study Tour were:
5) Camellia can be further developed as an economic genus, it already produces the most widely consumed woody plant leaf in the world.
6) Camellia in the UK will be less afflicted by disease than it is other parts of the world.
7) Customers buy foliage on price except for a special occasion.
8) The wider uses of Camellia worldwide are under developed in the UK e.g. hedging, topiary, mazes