Thursday, February 3, 2011

Darlinghurst: Plant Life: Caldwell Street Garden

I wish I knew the name for this little patch of green. There are no visible signs to indicate what it's called so I have simply come to know it as the Caldwell Street Garden. 
It is places like this that make living in the inner-city bearable on those days when you need to relax your eyes with green, pat the leaves and rest your feet in the grass. 
I have had quite a few of those days recently.

The garden isn't much really, just a tiny triangle of trees and shrubs on the corner of Caldwell and Nimrod streets. But I am so glad it is there.

I remember being told a story once about how developers in the 1980s had eyed the garden off as a potential site for a building. What a waste of good space, they must have thought. Fortunately, others thought differently and there was a small and successful campaign to save what was known as the ''Convict Park''.
I don't know if that story is accurate, or if perhaps the person who told it to me was referring to the park on Surrey Street. If you happen to know, please contact me.

The garden is basically a small patch of grass with an eclectic mix of plants, two benches and two trees. 

If it is a hot day, I often make a little pit-stop here on the way home, to have a little rest and think. 

I recruited my horticulturalist friend Ruby Molteno, to come to the garden one day and identify the trees and plants for me. There is one pine type of tree in the street corner, which I forgot to ask her about. 
But the focal point of the garden is a Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina), pictured above, that has lots of berries hidden amongst the foliage.
The ground-cover (below) is called Tradescantia Zebrina and the ''upright, strappy succulent-like plant'' is some kind of Agave, according to Ruby. 

On one of the rocks surrounding a garden bed is this little plaque and dog tag, saying JOJO, surrounded by colourful bits of broken tiles and shells. The plaque reads:
"In memory of our good friend and neighbour, Michael Robertson, 1926-2007."

While walking home from the Caldwell Street Garden the other day, I noticed this paste-up on the wall of the Nimrod Theatre, which sums up my feelings after a moment among the trees perfectly:


Anonymous said...

Jojo was a wee dog who lived on the corner of Caldwell and Nimrod, with Di. Run over by a car one day - very sad. Love this little corner of Darlinghurst. said...

Hi, I and my neighbours planted all those plants in the little "pocket park" on Caldwell and Nimrod Streets. When Michael Died his neighbours planted a Lilli Pilli and put the plaque in the park and held a wake in his memory. When his house was sold the new owner threw out all his plants so we rescued them and put them under the tree and extended the existing small garden. Many cuttings from houses I pass walking my dog plus unwanted plants from neighbours have generally been added - hence the eclectic mix. So it is a community garden of sorts. One neighbour regularly cleans it of dog poo, syringes, casks and other rubbish and I water the plants regularly. Council clips the hedges and lawn etc. Our resident homeless oldie sometimes tramples the gardens and pulls out new plants, but we like him better than the junkies. We get a few people stopping by to eat their lunch and all the local dogs see it as an extension of their front yard. said...

PS the dog JoJo mentioned in earlier comment was my beautiful boy. I now have Charlie, a little Australian Terrier, but no dog will ever replace JoJo. Di