An Australian Odyssey

Just back from a trip down under and was lucky enough to visit Wendy Whiteley’s wonderfully astounding secret garden that sits on the edge of Lavender Bay on a large patch of former derelict land.

Although, I set out to find Wendy’s garden it very much feels like stumbling upon an amazingly magical make believe land with incredible views of Sydney. The planting is lush, tropical and dense with lots of nooks and crannies in which to simply sit. At times it’s hard to believe you’re in a city. I was there for four hours and saw tourist mingling with local office workers having their lunch. I was also overjoyed to see so many young people enjoying this wonderful garden.

The story behind this garden is as astonishing as the garden itself, it was created at considerable personal expense. Wendy has spent millions (of dollars) on this amazing garden. Thirty years ago Wendy started cleaning up (what was then a large patch of derelict land) that’s adjacent to her Lavender Bay home. The land is owned by the Rail Corporation. When Wendy started this garden it was covered in weeds, rumble and rubbish. Remarkably the Rail Corporation had no interest in the land and raised no objections to Wendy beautifying the area. She did this long before guerrilla gardening ever became fashionable. The public have always had free access to this wonderful garden that I’m totally in love with.

In 2009, Wendy was awarded the Medal of Order of Australia for “service to the community through the establishment and maintenance of a public garden.

I would urge everyone visiting Sydney to take a couple hours and see this joyous garden

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