Typical of Australian art is an appreciation of contrasting styles. In The Everglades Garden, it’s mainly European flowers, but from the lookout, there’s a glimpse of native flowers, such as the bright red waratah and the golden wattle. This melding of native plants with flowers from the mother country and from Europe, is in acknowledgement to our cultural heritage.
I first attended the Leura “Everglades Garden” at the behest of my cousin, Esther. We met as a result of family research carried out by my brother, William, who has written a book titled A Little Bit of Irish, in which Esther’s ancestors and mine—they were close back then—figured largely.
Esther is a watercolour artist who lives in the Blue Mountains and who paints landscape scenes from the gardens “en plein air”.
These are two of her lovely prize-winning paintings: “Conifer with Daffodils” and “Bluebells with Daffodils” that she created in the Everglades Garden this year and entered in the Festival Competition.
I returned with my husband to the Blue Mountains last weekend for the Leura Spring Festival. We viewed the gardens in full bloom. It takes two hours by train from Sydney, and costs only $2.50 to arrive at the gorgeous village of Leura. There was a Festival bus to take us around the eleven garden sights, all of them privately owned, apart from the Everglades, part of the National Trust. This is a world-renowned garden set against a backdrop of bush and sweeping views. In the middle of it all lies a stunning Art Deco home. It’s a lovely spot to wander, to picnic, or to enjoy a Devonshire tea.
Paul Sorensen designed this European style garden that puts on its best show in spring. Set on over twelve acres and surrounded by natural bush, the garden also has views towards the Jamison valley, and glimpses of native flowers, such as the amazing red waratah, floral emblem for New South Wales. Here is a video I took from the Garden lookout over the Jamison, with splashes of red from the waratah and pink from other native plants.
One can imagine early newcomers to Australia in the fifties and sixties, from the Netherlands and other European nations, responding with nostalgia to the beauty of the European style gardens, as well as to the bushland grandeur and the native flowers, such as the waratah and wattle.
Here are some of the photos I took of the Everglades while in Leura for the spring Festival.