This small garden situated in Sydney's Darling Harbour, walking distance from Chinatown, was one of the highlights of my Australian adventure. Nestled in the heart of the financial district this garden is a true surprise and should not be missed.
The garden is centred around a large reflective lake (above) and filled to the brim with enormous Koi Carp in every colour and pattern imaginable (left) .
As you walk around the lake you are taken on a wondrous journey through Chinese buildings, sculpture and native plants from both Australia and China.
The garden was created and designed by Sydney's sister city, Guangzhou in China. The gardens were positioned near Chinatown as it was felt it would compliment the already present Chinese heritage and culture but also made links to the new developing area of the harbour itself. The garden was opened in 1988 during the bicentennial celebrations and symbolise the bond between China and Australia.
On entering the garden you are met with a display of Penjing (as shown below).
This art form is also know as Penzai which is where the Japanese art of Bonsai originates (Bonsai being the Japanese pronunciation for Penzai). Acer, Pinus and Ulmus were all on display as well as many others that I am unfamiliar with. The garden also contained trained forms grown directly in the ground, forms grown in rock and scholars rocks (above).
As it is Spring in Australia many plants were just coming in to flower including Magnolia, Azalea, Osmanthus, and Rhododendron.
Out of all of the flowers on display my favourite was the glorious Spring Waratah or more accurately
I later observed this plant in other gardens that I visited and learned more about it and its relation to aboriginal folklore. One legend from the Eora describes how a female Wonga Pigeon searches for her husband who was lost when out hunting. She is attached by a hawk and badly wounded. As a result she finds cover in a Waratah bush and as she struggles in the bush her blood turns the white Waratah blooms red.
The vistas in the garden were breath taking and I think the angles for photography were endless. I particularly like this shot which shows some of the architecture and the slope leading to it which was planted with many a mature Cycad.
This area with its numerous large boulders also made a great home for various lizard species which were rather confident around people. I caught many images of sunbathing lizards and witnessed several disputes between lizard neighbours.
I'm assuming that as it is Spring breeding season must be imminent, hence the increased aggressiveness.
I will add a post about some Australian wildlife I encountered on my trip at a later date.
Of course, what Chinese garden could be without a Bamboo grove. Many species could be found in the garden including Phyllostachus nigra (pictured right), Phyllostchus aurea and Phyllostachus viva