Garden Portrait: Harmony and Balance

It was hot. Very hot. I had just had lunch and a chin-wag with M-R in Pyrmont, a suburb of Sydney only a spit away from the Harbour Bridge. I wanted to return to the Chinese Garden of Friendship, an oasis in the heart of Darling Harbour which is predominantly restaurants and leisure facilities. I first visited this garden in 1998 when it was very new so I wanted to see how it had developed over the past 16 years.


The entrance to the garden is guarded by two Foo-dogs (Chinese lions) which have been carved from rare Chinese granite. Always in pairs the female with her cub guards to the left whilst the male, with a ball of chi (energy), guards to the right.


Once through the entrance you enter the Courtyard of Welcoming Fragrance and the Penjing exhibition, which means ‘tray scenery’ and demonstrates the art of creating a miniature landscape. Continue reading

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Domain: Part Two

After a snack and a drink we were revived to continue looking around the garden, although now it was quite a dull day. First we headed to the Herb Garden, beautifully laid out with areas for medicinal, perfumery and cooking herbs.


Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (copy)

  The Herb Garden

Herbs from around the world used for a wide variety of purposes – culinary, medicinal and aromatic – are on display here. A sensory fountain and sundial modelled on the celestial sphere are also features.

From there we wound around the perimeter of the gardens, passing by the Palace Rose Garden with its Federation style shelter pavilion (1897), the Pioneer Garden, the Morshead Fountain and towards the Tropical Centre which was unfortunately closed for renovation. So we walked through the Rainforest and Palm Grove to visit the Fernery and then on to the Succulent Garden. Continue reading

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Domain: Part One


We had left it too late to catch a train up to the Blue Mountains after struggling to find the bus stop for the free shuttle service #555 and ended up walking to Central Station. After that we decided to take the train back to Circular Quay and slowly stroll around Sydney Harbour to Mrs Macquaries Point (Domain – Yurong Precinct) and then through the gardens to see as much as we could before the feet complained. The weather was warm, but very cloudy and we weren’t surprised by a shower or two which were very brief. A few large splats and that was that.


The walk really starts at Circular Quay where all the ferries depart from. It wouldn’t do to visit Sydney and not go on at least one ferry, but we’ll save that for another day. After admiring the bridge, it is impossible not to admire the Opera House and even go inside for a tour if you wish.

Continue reading