We are very lucky to own some woodland and I went down for a walk this afternoon to see how much damage there is after yesterdays high winds (four trees down, all shallow rooted silver birches - not too bad). I came across a camellia that is being strangled by brambles. Its been growing sideways to reach the light and is about five foot tall with an offset circumference of about five foot.
I'd like it up by the house really so that I can actually enjoy it. Can it be transplanted easily or will it just die? And it seems to have buds on it already. Will moving it shock the plant and cause the buds to fail (not sure whether they're leaf buds or flower buds)
Wow, that's a big camellia! The larger the plant, the harder they tend to take transplantation (partly because there's more plant that needs nutrients, water etc). If you do decide to move it, you'll need to take the biggest football you can to give it the best chance, and dig a huge hole with lots of organic matter the other end.
I think I would be tempted to take cuttings as a backup!!
That's a good plan shove. When I said 5 foot circumference I clearly meant diameter but yes it is fairly big. I suspect it was planted by previous owners about 20 years ago since they planted various plants in the woods at that time.
How would I go about taking cuttings and when is the best time for this?
I think, if you can bear to wait, you could do the cuttings next summer, then you can be fairly certain they have rooted before you move the main plant in autumn. Alternatively, you could keep the big plant where it is (which would save you a huge job) and start genetically identical ones from the cuttings in your garden. But they will take a while to get as large!