Can you keep a secret? - Jul 19, 2018

Have you been to the Secret Garden?

I went to a Nursery Conference during the week at The Kirribilli Club in North Sydney.

At lunchtime I went outside and crossed the road into a beautiful park. I walked through the park until I came to Wendy Whiteley’s House. She was the wife of a famous painter.
I was reading the story, about her famous Secret Garden, on her front gate, when this guy came out, sat down on the step, and put his shoes on.
He had a tired looking face.
“Are you the gardener” I asked.
“Yes” he said.
I told him how beautiful his garden looked and a smile came to his face. I got talking to him.
Corrado Camuglia is Italian of course. He didn’t start out as a gardener he told me but his father was a keen gardener.
Corrado was working next door to Wendy’s house 20 years ago. He was helping a Tiler. On his way home he stopped and talked to Wendy who was working in the garden opposite her house. He jokingly asked her if she had a job for him?
The garden didn’t look like this then, he said. He started work the next day. For the first 12-15 years Wendy worked every day in her garden. Today Corrado has another gardener to help him. Wendy doesn’t help so much anymore. We’ve all got older, Corrado smiled.
We built this garden on a mountain. It was a rubbish tip.
I couldn’t do that now.
Are you a gardener at home?
Yes of course, but I grow everything in pots, I don’t have soil. Corrado lives in Croydon Park.
“I get cuttings from friends and I bring the plants here. We grow a lot of plants by cutting”.
His tired face has been transformed into a smiling face once I’ve got him talking about his garden. That’s why Wendy started to build this garden. It was therapy for her. Now it’s become a beautiful sanctuary for everyone to enjoy.
I ask Corrado if he would mind if I took his photo. That’s fine he says.
He notices that I’ve got a handful of rubbish that I’ve picked up while wondering through the garden.
He thanks me.
“It drives me crazy he says. People leave so much rubbish.”
If you are in North Sydney, have a stroll through this garden. Check out the huge Morton Bay Figs. There is amazing vistas through to the Harbour Bridge. It’s free to get in. Its not a formal garden, it just evolved. There were people reading books and having lunch. Two boys raced past me doing boy things. They raced along the secret paths that criss cross the hillside.

A big thanks to Wendy and Corrado.
Check this garden out if you are in the city.

Many people who Garden find that it’s good therapy. Being outside in the sunshine, doing physical work, is good for your body and mind.

It was interesting that Corrado does all his gardening at home in pots. One of the best courtyard gardens I’ve ever seen was all in pots. It was in the rear of a restaurant in Surry Hills. It was a tropical garden full of foliage. It wasn’t until I looked closely that I discovered that everything was in pots!

I hope you like my stories
Come and see us if you need help in your garden. Spring’s not far away.
Happy gardening