Sweet Thing from Astral Weeks 1973, Van Morrison.
Carved in slate, these words greet you at the entrance of Wendy Whiteley’s Garden. A not quite secret, but usually quiet, idyll of lushness created from waste ground abandoned by City Rail.
It’s a garden of narrow paths meandering over it’s steep, terraced slope with handmade stone walls and staircases to paths that may or may not lead you somewhere. It has dark glades with hidden benches that beckon lovers, or camouflage the secret lairs of dragons and fairies. Other paths lead you to sunlit lawns or open onto views of Lavender Bay, the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park.
Throughout the garden are pieces of sculpture and objects that are no longer functional, but have become far more interesting, amusing and inspiring in their second life. It’s a place of texture and contrasts, of foliage rather than pretty flowers.
It’s a wonderful place for a writer. A natural den to escape to and let your thoughts wander, to have your creativity replenished. To be reminded that when the rubbish is cleared something of great beauty can emerge. If like Wendy Whiteley you’re willing to start at one end and see where it takes you.
Of the garden Wendy Whitely says, ‘It will never be finished. That’s the thing. Like a life is never over until you’re dead.’