I read in ‘Marrickville Matters’ that St Clement’s Anglican Church at the corner of Marrickville & Petersham Roads won ‘Best Commercial Garden’ in Marrickville Council’s 2014 Spring Garden Competition. Deservedly so – because it is terrific.
I first noticed this garden when riding past one day & went back later for a sticky-beak. I really like this garden & I think children especially, will enjoy it.
Set in a small space between the church building & the side fence fronting Petersham Road, the garden does much with the space. Small rooms have been created – something garden designers love.
There are areas with seats for quiet reflection around the perimeter of the church, including the areas not visible from the road. Other seats are scattered throughout the garden & many of these are small child height. An olive tree is planted in the middle of a circular wire seating arrangement, while a NSW Christmas tree provides shade for a bench seat near the gate. Camelias & fruit trees have been planted as well.
There is even a ‘fairy circle’ of wooden toadstools – perfect for a gathering of little children. The fairy circle is visible & close to the front door of the church. I can see kids racing to gather here while their parents are chatting with others at the front door after the church service. I don’t know whether this happens, but this garden is ripe for activities like this.
The original brick fence has been retained – good for keeping a sense of local history, & a deep yellow low picket fence installed for the remaining perimeter. Orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) has been planted to form a low hedge inside the fence line. It’s very good to see greenery added in this way, when many would have stopped at a fence.
The paths are very interesting & serve to help delineate the ‘rooms’ throughout this small space. All the paths are permeable, which is terrific for stormwater management. Getting rid of unnecessary concrete is something we should all be aiming to do in our own gardens. Less concrete cuts out the heat retention as well.
Rocks, small wooden logs, wooden planks, pavers & old bricks have been used in artistic ways between areas of small pebbles. There is barely a straight line to be seen, which not only adds interest to the paths, but also softens the whole space. I believe that most people react well to curves, even if unconsciously.
Many of the plants are Australian natives & if they are not, they are fragrant & perfect for little hands to touch & smell.
For as long as I can remember, there have been trees & a thriving garden at the front of St Clement’s, which adds a rare patch of beauty along this stretch of Marrickville Road.
To me, St Clement’s is one of the historical ‘gateways’ to Marrickville with the Town Hall & Fire Station across the road & the lovely St Briget’s Church one block west. This is a section of particularly good historical buildings, so it is great to see another aspect of beauty being added in the form of a garden, which is visually & physically accessible to the community.
I really like what they have done. It is a captivating garden in my opinion & will only get better as the plants & trees grow. Well done on receiving an award for this initiative.