Monday, 12 October 2009

My Australian Adventure: Sandringham Garden Memorial

I have been asked to describe my recent holiday to Sydney, Australia several times since returning and I feel that as of yet I haven't illustrated exactly just how great a holiday it was.

In the first article of what is to be a series of posts I will try my best to give you a taste of what Sydney has to offer in horticultural terms and the sights I have encountered on my short trip.  The first stop on my whistle stop tour is the Sandringham Garden in Sydney's Hyde Park.  The gardens were designed by Sydney architect Dr Epstein and sculptor Lyndon Dodswell.   

Originally the garden was commissioned to commemorate the visit of King George VI in 1952.  Sadly, this was not to be as the King died suddenly and the Royal visit was cancelled.  This resulted in the project being put on hold and the whole project appeared to be in jeopardy.  It was later agreed that the project would go ahead as a joint memorial for the former King and King George V.  The gardens were opened in February 1954 by King George VI's daughter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The gardens incorporate gorgeous memorial gates, pergolas covered in Wisteria, ornamental lamps and a fountain which forms the centerpiece of the sunken garden. 

Plant combinations within the garden were quite simple and elegant utilising shrubs and grasses to provide contrast and interest in the tiered design surrounding the fountain and main focal point. 

In this picture I have tried to show how the intelligent use of colour and form helps to provide year round interest and a sense of dynamism within the garden.  Metallic tones including bronze and silver help to contribute a clean and contemporary element to the space and enhance the reflective qualities surrounding the main water feature.

The combination of traditional and modern elements, demonstrated in planting and hard landscaping make this memorial an extremely inviting place to be, enticing Sydney locals and tourists in equal measure.  The steps seemed to be a big hit and I can imagine how on a hot Australian day the beautiful fountain would help to cool and relax anyone who visits it or lunches there.

The Wisteria was just coming in to bloom and I managed to get a quick shot of the blooms that would soon engulf the wooden pergolas on the upper level of the memorial surrounding the fountain.

It's currently Spring in Sydney and the garden is intended to be at it's best around this particular season.  I enjoyed the simple colour palette and understated elegance of the garden at the time of my visit.  

It would be interesting to see whether or not the display changed with the season in relation to bedding plants and other planting changes.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the small space and good design of this complex but understated garden.  I would recommend you visit if in Sydney.


  1. Poor king! I'm sorry he didn't see that garden! Thank you Ryan! That second picture is very interesting. Contemporary indeed!

  2. Ryan,
    It looks like you had a Fabulous time. Great pics and wonderful history! Thanks for the lesson. cant wait to read more.

  3. Looks like a lovely public space :)

  4. They have such a good climate in sydney ...So there is quite a mix of plants ....We spent a lot of time in the gardens when over there


  5. The great thing about Australia is that most towns and cities have botanic gardens that are located in the town centre. Useful for botanising and sight-seeing at the same time!

    I didn't visit Hyde Park, but I have a great picture of it from the top of the Sydney Tower.

    Looking forward to the next in the series!


  6. Really enjoyed Part 1 of your Australian Adventure Ryan. Looking forward to Part 2, etc, etc. Thanks again for such an interesting Blog.

    Kind regards from my 'sick bed' - Viv

  7. You lucky devil, I've always wanted to go to Oz, but have yet to fulfil that ambition. How funny to see wisteria in flower, just four months after it finished flowering here. Glad you had a great time.

  8. Ha - just the job for my regular Out on the Streets spot Ryan. I hope you don't mind if I grab your URL (oo er missus) and add it to the roll call over at mine?

  9. Hi Ryan, great post. I'm in Sydney and never knew about the Sandringham Gardens! Not to pick (and I haven't been in ages) but that does look like its in the Botanical Gardens and not Hyde Park. You've inspired me to go check it out =)


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