In 2014 the International Camellia Society Congress recognised the E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens as a ‘Camellia Garden of Excellence’. Stephen Utick has prepared a full register of the extensive gardens for this interactive garden tour.
The E. G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens contains one of the largest collections of camellia cultivars in Australia, reflecting its initial establishment as a national camellia gardens during the Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrated in 1970. Its collection is of very great value to Australian ornamental horticulture, particularly as camellia cultivars propagated by scion (woody cutting) can no longer be imported into Australia due to quarantine restrictions.
The Gardens is now a member of the International Camellia Society and classifies its collection of camellias according to the International Camellia Register published by the International Camellia Society. In March 2014, it was awarded the accolade of an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society during its congress at Pontevedra in Spain. The Gardens also acknowledges the support of Camellias Australia, its affiliates and individual members across Australia, and particularly the St George and Sutherland Camellia Society. In addition in developing this Register, the Gardens acknowledges the work of the late Eric Utick BEM, who developed early catalogues of the Gardens’ collections, and a subsequent register developed by Jimmy Powell Dip Hort during 2005-06.
This Register records the Gardens’ collection of plants botanically classified within the Family Theaceae, Genus Camellia. Some other ornamental specimens are also botanically classified.
How to explore the Gardens’ collection
(1) Choose which Garden bed you would like to explore (see Garden bed numbers on Map). Garden beds have a name as well as a number to aid with quick identification.
(2) Go to the list for the particular numbered Garden bed you have chosen. Wherever possible, a photograph has been provided of each camellia flower in these Garden beds in addition to the story behind it.
(3) If you want more detailed horticultural background as to how this collection has been identified and labelled, please examine the Background documents.
Listing of Cultivars within Garden beds
For the purposes of collection management, the Register has partitioned the Gardens into Garden beds as outlined in the Camellia Garden Map. The map represents the Gardens at the beginning of 2014, and will be revised should any re-construction be undertaken in subsequent years. A listing of camellia cultivars and species is given for each Garden bed within the broader Areas of the Gardens. These Garden beds are listed below.
Garden beds in Area C of the Garden
Area C includes those Garden beds at the top entrance and top levels of the Garden, as well as down the in the gully slopes north of the Main Bridge and on the western side of Kareena Creek. These Garden beds are as follows:
Garden beds 1A and B:
Entrance Garden beds near the top gate. 1A is the centre lawn Garden bed and 1B the Garden bed to the right of the top entrance plus any tub specimens featured at the Teahouse. This area may be subject to redevelopment in future.
Garden bed 2: Elizabeth Cook Memorial Fountain Garden bed. This includes the Garden bed immediately adjacent to the Elizabeth Cook Memorial Fountain at the top level and the surrounding fence.
Garden bed 3: Foundation Stone Garden bed. This small Garden bed is at the back of the Foundation Stone and includes all camellias growing under the ledge below. A small gazebo donated by Caringbah Garden Club marks the boundary.
Garden bed 4: E.G. Waterhouse Garden bed. This is the largest camellia Garden bed on the upper level of Area C which incorporates many cultivars of the late Professor E. G. Waterhouse as well as adjacent plantings of camellias more broadly.
Garden bed 5: Sasanqua Garden bed. Adjacent to the northern fence carpark, this large Garden bed primarily features a collection of C. sasanqua with some plantings of C. japonica as one approaches the Tsubaki Garden bed.
Garden bed 6: The Ledge Garden bed.
This is a small Garden bed that begins at the ledge where the E. G. Waterhouse Garden bed ends and is on the right as one descends down the path into the gully. Most camellias in The Ledge Garden bed are best viewed along the path turning to the right as one descends the stairs.
Garden bed 7: Tsubaki Garden bed. This Garden bed, adjacent to the top fence on President Avenue, begins from the top of the stairs to the right of the path down the gully. It is designated ‘Tsubaki’ after the Japanese name for the camellia and most specimens featured in this Garden bed are Japanese varieties
Garden bed 8: Janet Waterhouse Fence Garden bed. This Garden bed begins along the path at the end of the Tsubaki Garden bed and includes all garden plantings along the President Ave fence to the north-east corner of the Gardens. It is named after the late Janet Waterhouse, wife of Professor Waterhouse.
Garden bed 9: Janet Waterhouse Redwood Garden bed. This small second Garden bed named after Janet Waterhouse is shaded by an immense Californian redwood (Sequioa sempervirens) and features some very special camellia gems.
Garden bed 10: Kareena Creek West Garden bed. This includes all camellia plantings on the western edge of Kareena Creek down to the Main Bridge crossing Kareena Creek.
Garden bed 11: The Gully Garden bed. This includes all camellia plantings in the main bed along the slopes of the gully below The Ledge Garden bed and above the Kareena Creek West Garden bed. These camellia plantings mainly include Australian and Chinese cultivars.
Garden beds in Area A of the Garden
Area A includes all other Garden beds (other than those in Area C) located on the lower levels of the Garden and on the western side of Kareena Creek. It includes those Garden beds accessed directly through the rear entrance carpark , around the Wedding Lawn and Stan Peck Gazebo, and adjacent to the toilet amenities and work sheds in the southwest corner of the Garden. These Garden beds are as follows:
Garden bed 12: Poplar Corner Garden bed. This small but important Garden bed is located at the very centre of the Garden, and is best viewed from either from the path leading up to the Main Bridge or from the northeast corner of the Wedding Lawn. A golden poplar (Populus nigra ‘Lombardy Gold’) on the Wedding Lawn marks the corner of this Garden bed.
Garden bed 13: The Island Garden bed. This island garden bed is immediately below the E. G. Waterhouse Garden bed in Area C and above the Wishing Well Garden bed in Area A. It contains a number of American cultivars.
Garden bed 14: The Wishing Well Garden bed.
This is a large garden on the northern side of the Wedding Lawn containing European and American camellia cultivars. It is named after the Wishing Well feature in the southwest corner of this Garden bed.
Garden bed 15: Species and Hybrids Garden bed.
This Garden bed is located below the Elizabeth Cook Fountain Garden beds in Area C and can be best examined along the path to the west of the Wishing Well. It contains a number of camellia species and some hybrids. Key ornamental trees in this Garden bed include the Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata) and the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides).
Garden bed 16: Kareena Road Garden bed. This is a small Garden bed adjacent to the fence at Kareena Road, near the workshed.
Garden beds 17A, B, C, D and E: Senses Garden beds. These series of Garden beds may be found on both sides of the driveway leading down to the toilet amenities. The Senses Garden itself is located in Garden bed 17C. Garden bed 17D features a large swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) and a Chinese pistacia (Pisticia chinensis). The Garden edge on the southern side of the driveway is designated as the final in this series, i.e. Garden bed 17E.
Garden bed 18: Wedding Lawn Garden bed.
This is very large centrepiece garden bed facing the rear entrance to the south and the Wedding Lawn to the north. In addition to camellias, it features a range of outstanding trees and shrubs including an outstanding Mexican Bald Cypress (Taxodium mucronatum, encountered immediately upon entry through the main rear gate), a Persian Witch Hazel (Parrotia persica); a Golden Totara (Podocarpus totara ‘Aureus’); Magnolia doltsopa ‘Silver Cloud’; and a Golden English Elm (Ulmus procera ‘Louis van Houtte’).
Garden bed 19: Yowie Bay Garden bed. This very large Garden bed begins at the right hand side when entering from the rear entrance and includes the slope down to the weir across Kareena Creek.
Garden bed 20: Gazebo Island Garden bed. This is a small island Garden bed to the south west of the Stan Peck Gazebo. It features a small birdbath facing the lookout across Kareena Creek.
Garden bed 21: Bridge Garden bed. This Garden bed begins to the south of the Main Bridge and follows the western side of Kareena Creek, ending at the Stan Peck Gazebo. A Persian Witch Hazel, Parrotia persica grows just past the bridge; another feature is a large Sweetgum Liquidambar stryraciflua.
Garden beds in Areas B1 and B2 of the Garden
Areas B1 and B2 comprise all the Garden beds on the eastern side of Kareena Creek. Area B1 encompasses the Duck Ponds, while Area B2 encompasses the area around the Rose Garden. There are some Garden beds towards the eastern fence which extend across both Areas B1 and B2. Not all these Garden beds include camellia plantings.
Those Garden beds distinctly in Area B1 are as follows:
Garden bed 22: Palm Grove Garden bed.
This large garden follows the eastern side of Kareena Creek from the Main Bridge to the Duck Ponds. It encompasses a large palm grove, including a major stand of Bangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) and ends at the cascade down from the Duck Ponds to Kareena Creek.
Garden bed 23: Cascade Garden bed. This large Garden bed south of the Cascade lies below the Duck Pond and slopes down to the eastern back of Kareena Creek. It contains a significant collection of camellia cultivars.
Garden bed 25: Fishtail Palm Garden bed. This is a small tropical garden featuring a stand of Cluster Fishtail Palm Caryota mitis. A few camellias are being trialled in this Garden bed.
Garden beds 25 A and B: Apex Garden beds. These Garden beds, initially sponsored by the Apex community organisation, include some rare camellias among the collection on display.
Garden bed 26: Tropical Garden bed. This wonderful Garden bed features palms and cycads among other tropical plants. It is located south of the duck Ponds. There are currently no camellias planted in this Garden bed.
Garden bed 27: Lower Duckpond Garden bed.
This Garden bed encompasses the perimeter of the Lower Duckpond. There are currently no camellias planted in this Garden bed.
Garden bed 28: Upper Duckpond Garden bed. This Garden bed encompasses the perimeter of the Upper Duckpond. This garden includes a small collection of rare camellias.
Garden bed 29: RSL Cascade Garden bed. This Garden bed encompasses the perimeter of the RSL Cascade memorial. There is currently one camellia planted in this Garden bed.
There several Garden beds covering both Area B1 and Area B2. These include:
Garden beds 30A, B and C: Island Lawn Garden beds. A series of three lawn Garden beds stretch from back of the RSL Cascade Garden bed (Area B1) to the eastern side of the Rose Garden (Area B2).
Garden bed 31: Eastern Fence Hedge Garden bed. This informal hedge includes a beautiful collection of Camellia sasanqua and Camellia hiemalis cultivars.
Those Garden beds solely within Area B2 are as follows:
Garden beds 32A and B: Rose garden beds. This is primarily a Rose Garden with Garden bed 32B being a large perimeter Garden bed. An outstanding specimen of Weeping Mulberry (Morus alba ‘pendula’) grows in the lawn just to the right as one enters the arch entrance.
Garden bed 33: Kareena Creek East Garden bed.
A number of camellias are planted along this eastern bank of Kareena Creek between the Main bridge and Arch Bridge leading from the Janet Waterhouse Fence Garden bed in Area C.
Garden bed 34: Kareena Creek East Rockery Garden bed.
This is a rockery Garden bed next to the Arch Bridge in the north-eastern corner of the Garden. There are currently no camellias planted in this Garden bed.
Note: This Register has been compiled by Dr Stephen Utick BSc (UNSW) Dip Hort Sc (USyd) MScSoc (UNSW) MLitt (ANU) PhD (ACU), Director (for Australia) International Camellia Society for 2013-2015. Its compilation has been assisted by a number of other individual camellia experts from Camellias Australia including Jim Powell, Neil Mitchell, Bill Parker (Camellias-R-Us), Marge Mansfield, Bob Cherry and Barry Di Salvia. This Register will be subject to revision as further Garden beds are developed and/or as camellia specimens are added to the collection or replaced. Comments or suggestions for additional information on individual specimens are welcome; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org