….but we are all fabulous.
Isn’t it wonderful when you are visiting somewhere and you come across a gem that is not in the guide books? This happened to us the other day in Sydney. Friends had mentioned Wendy’s Secret Garden in passing when they knew we were staying in North Sydney and as a result when we decided to go for a walk and spotted it on the map not far from us we decided to check it out.
This garden is the work of Wendy Whiteley a well-known figure in Sydney who is the ex-partner of artist Brett Whiteley (see his painting The Balcony 2 in my previous post: https://notallwomenarethesame.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/a-visit-to-the-art-gallery-of-new-south-wales/) who died from a methadone overdose in 1992 and mother to their actor daughter Arkie Whiteley who died in 2001 from adrenal cancer. Opposite the family home in Lavender Bay was some derelict land owned by New South Wales Rail Corporation and often used as somewhere to sleep by homeless people. Over the past 20+ years she has thrown herself into transforming this space into a magical garden with myriad pathways through trees, bushes and flowers. There are benches and garden furniture throughout the garden enabling people to rest or bring a picnic and dotted around are statues, water features and other treasures both natural and man-made. Every so often there will be a gap in the foliage and an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge or water is revealed.
A book has just been published about Wendy and the garden and there was a recent Guardian write up about the book, the garden and the threat to its future: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/23/wendy-whiteleys-secret-garden-and-her-one-woman-mission-to-save-it
Because the land is prime real estate, it is unclear what will happen to it when the current lease from RailCorp to North Sydney Council expires in March 2018. It would be a shame for this peaceful oasis to be torn down, hopefully the new book and increasing public awareness of the garden will prevent this from happening. Below are a selection of pictures of the garden – they don’t do it full justice – if you get the chance to see it for yourself, do!