The award of ICS Camellia Garden of Excellence at the ICS Congress in Pontevedra in Spain in March 2015, came just in time to reinforce the significance of this garden to the Councillors and management of Sutherland Shire. The previous Management Committee was abolished at the end of 2013, and has now been replaced by a Significant Parks and Landmarks Committee of which I am a member, but which now looks at a wide range of the Shire’s significant parks. There are camellias in at least one other park, the Chuo Japanese Friendship Garden at Sutherland (the Shire has a friendship city arrangement with this Japanese city). On operational matters, I now liaise with Manager of Parks and Waterways Gwyn Cleeves and with Head Gardener Maxine Grove, and that arrangement has been satisfactory.
Many thanks to Wesley and Lynette Gleason for helping me set up the on-line tour of the Gardens’ collection of 600 plants and 400 cultivars which now features on our Camellias Australia website at http://camelliasaustralia.com.au/gardens/e-g-waterhouse-national-camellia-gardens/ . By the time of this meeting, I should have given a presentation on this resource at Sutherland Library, Tuesday evening 4 August, supported by a display of Japanese camellias by St George and Sutherland Camellia Society. During the latter part of 2014, I managed to identify a further 40 or so cultivars which will be added to collection list and featured in a revised edition of the tour in 2016. Despite a few losses, the collection continues to grow. I wish to thank Hume Camellia Society for the donation of ‘Sweet Olive’ which is now planted in Garden bed 25. Camellia japonica ‘Fuji No Yuki’ (Higo), Camellia japonica ‘Coletti’and (two backup camellias) Camellia sasanqua ‘Mikuniko’ and Camellia sasanqua ‘Briar Rose’ have been added from the Camellia Ark. With continual moist and wet conditions, the flowering has been very good this year. With respect to signage for the Gardens, I have been working with Rob Whitfield of the Parks and Waterways design team in the development of text and selected photography. An aluminium based structure used in other Shire constructions is likely to be chosen (somewhere in the vicinity of $4000 in cost) which will then need to be approved by the Significant Parks and Landmarks Committee before final Council ratification. Importantly, the proposed text will feature information on both the International Camellia Society and Camellias Australia Inc. When (and if) this goes through, Camellias Australia Inc might consider an appropriate level of contribution.
Dr Stephen Utick, July 2015