Camellia japonica ‘Cleopatra’

Beverly Allen, 2010. © The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

The fountain and pleasure garden at Vaucluse House

The gardens and grounds at Vaucluse House are part of a grand and romantic vision of landscape, preserved in Sydney’s best-surviving mid-1800s estate. Discover the splendid pleasure garden, Victorian kitchen garden and idyllic natural setting on the edge of Sydney Harbour.

Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums.

Camellia japonica ‘Aspasia Macarthur’ in the pleasure garden at Vaucluse House

Camellia japonica ‘Aspasia’ (known today as ‘Aspasia Macarthur’) first bloomed for William Macarthur at Camden Park during the 1840s, and was released for sale in 1848. Described by Macarthur as a ‘light flesh colour, with a few splashes of crimson and pink’, it remains one of the most popular colonial Australian cultivars. There are half a dozen plantings of ‘Aspasia Macarthur’ at Vaucluse House, some of them very old.

Photo © Katrina James for Sydney Living Museums.

Camellia japonica ‘Speciosissima’ in bloom at Vaucluse House 

This deep red, anemone-form camellia is an Australian-bred cultivar, named for its resemblance to Australia's native waratah, Telopea speciocissima. Sydney’s Darling Nursery first listed it for sale in 1862, describing it as ‘A large and well-shaped, free-flowering variety, raised by ourselves … the most showy camellia at present in cultivation’.

Photo Helen Curran © Sydney Living Museums.

Camellia japonica ‘Anemoniflora Alba’ in the verandah garden at Vaucluse House

Known as the white waratah camellia, this variety was first cultivated in England, at the famed Vauxhall Nursery, from seeds of Camellia japonica ‘Pompone’. It was listed for sale at Sydney’s Darling Nursery in 1851.

Photo Helen Curran © Sydney Living Museums.

Camellia japonica 'Cleopatra'