Meet the Succulent Garden, my most favourite corner of the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. You will find it behind a fence in a corner of the garden, right next to the buildings of the Foundation & Friends and the Maiden Theatre.
What I love about the Succulent Garden is the fact that it looks so bizarre – not just the plants, but also the landscape design. Rusty metal containers that are shaped in tall, wave-like structures, blood red scoria covering the beds, undulating brick walls defining the raised garden beds.
It’s a little known area of the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden, hidden away behind a wall, yet so peaceful in particular in winter. I love sitting here for a little while, soaking up the rays of the sun under the blue Sydney skies, letting my eyes wander over the strange shapes and prickly surfaces of the cacti and succulents.
There are some spectacular specimens here – cacti that are three metres tall or more than thirty centimetres in diameter. With their long, prickly spikes they look defiant, forbidding. They are the underdogs in the world of botany. This is not a garden for the faint-hearted or for careless fingers – warning signs everywhere warn of the dangers of these plants.
But I can find lots of beauty in their ugliness. Everybody loves the Moreton Bay Figs, the palm trees and the lush lawns flowing down to Farm Cove, but only a handful of people will appreciate the aesthetics of resilient cacti.
I love the absurd shapes, the unexpected appearance of flowers. The spiderwebs between the branches, the bees buzzing happily from flower to flower.
I love the fact that while sitting here and looking at them they remind me of sunbaked countries far, far away. Places like Spain and Mexico, where water is scarce and time seems to have no meaning.
The Succulent Garden unlike any other part of the Botanic Garden inspires me to dream. It takes me places, while my body still remains in the here and now.
What about you, do you know of a place that you find inspiring? Let me know in the comments!
Check out our Guide for more cool Sydney ideas!