[by Chris Haldane in Sydney]
This year COVID has restricted access to my normal sketching subjects but it’s also given me a renewed appreciation of all things green and natural. When I was stuck at home with only my courtyard for inspiration for so many weeks, I began to pay more attention to my plants and each new flower that bloomed. So now we’re allowed out and about again in NSW, I took the chance to recharge my batteries by visiting some of Australia’s loveliest gardens in the Blue Mts west of Sydney. I’ve never been lucky enough to score a trip to Britain in Spring, and this trip was the nearest I’m likely to get to the English garden look for some time!
After driving through areas ravaged by bushfires earlier this year, I found myself suddenly in the lush little settlement of Mt Wilson, where I visited Nooroo – one of Australia’s best cold climate gardens which is celebrating its 140th birthday this year. ‘Nooroo’ is an aboriginal word meaning ‘shady place’, but even so the owners told me that the bushfires had come pretty close to them. What a tragedy it would have been to lose such a heritage garden! I was delighted on entering to see bluebells in proliferation! And having always loved Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ poem, I was thrilled to find they were still in bloom too, so I spent a delightful hour under the old tree above while I painted them.
The next day was spent at The Everglades at Leura, set in a magnificent location with sweeping views over the Jamison Valley.
Its terraces and winding paths take you through Spring blossoms like tulips, azaleas and a bluebell woodland.
It was so refreshing sitting amidst those flowers, breathing in all that clean mountain air and being surrounded by so much beauty!