Wendy’s Secret Garden – Sydney
Wendy’s Secret Garden is an oasis of calm and quiet hidden amongst the built up area of North Sydney, along the edge of Sydney Harbour at Lavender Bay.
Although the garden is not exactly ‘secret’ anymore, this particular spot was completely unknown to me. That was until a good friend arranged a lovely picnic lunch there on a recent trip back home.
Wendy Whiteley, wife of the late Australian artist Brett Whiteley, created the garden after his death in 1992.
Whiteley channelled her grief into the restoration of this once derelict, unruly piece of land, owned by the NSW Rail Corporation. In doing so, she transformed the old railway dumping ground into a wonderfully tranquil green space.
The project, which was at Whiteley’s own expense, was a labour of love and loss. Both the ashes of Brett Whiteley and daughter Arkie Whiteley are buried there.
At first glance the community garden appears to be privately owned, as it is so beautifully maintained and backs onto a line of Lavender Bay residences (the garden actually lies adjacent to Whiteley’s own home and garden). However the parkland is freely open to the public to enjoy.
And enjoy it the public does! The garden is such a delightful spot to stop, sit, read and picnic. It’s also the perfect place to soak up the glorious Sydney sun and the extensive views of Sydney Harbour.
Within the lush and vibrant garden there are sculptures, native plants, herbs, jacaranda trees, secluded nature paths and grassy areas, as well as a number of benches and picnic tables.
A towering Moreton Bay Fig tree provides shady, leafy relief to visitors from the blistering summer sun, as do sun umbrellas, which have been thoughtfully placed around the garden.
Located between Clark Park on Lavender Street and the Lavender Bay Rail Yard, Wendy’s Secret Garden is not always the easiest place to find. But once you do I know you will absolutely fall in love with it like I did, so much so that I went back to wander around within a few days of my first visit.
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