The Everglades in Leura is one of the most spectacular cool climate gardens the Blue Mountains has to offer. Managed by the National Trust, the gardens and house herald back to the time when the Blue Mountains meant a retreat from Sydney, a journey and a holiday as opposed to the day trip or quick weekend that it is now. The gardens are picturesque and European in character and the house is an Art Deco classic. During our weekend away in the mountains (if you missed it you can read about it here) I managed to take some time for a stroll through the gardens, and despite the slightly soggy weather, spring in The Everglades did not disappoint.
Designed by the Danish horticulturalist and landscape designer Paul Sorensen in the 1930’s for Henri Van de Velde, a textiles businessman, The Everglades has been described as an extraordinary endeavour for its day. Designed to be sensitive to it’s bushland setting whilst incorporating modernist influences, as was the trend in many European gardens of the day, the gardens incorporate both formal and more natural features.
The spectacular terraces cascading through the site are a clever way to overcome the steep terrain. The views from the terraces into the bushland valley below are equally as impressive as the view looking back up at the structured modernist lines and sculpted gardens of the terraces. We were ambitious thinking that we could take the more adventurous (and less controllable) munchkins through the gardens in their prams. While there are ways of getting around that are level, The gardens are better appreciated on foot and by using the stairs between the terraces, so the prams were ditched half way through.
Overall, the garden design is spectacular, but it is the little details and craftsmanship that really make you want to spend hours wandering through the terraces and meandering the paths and grottos. The planting design throughout the garden is sensitive to the site and surrounding environment. As the garden moves towards the surrounding bushland, species selection moves towards a native palette. Exotic species are utilised in the formal garden spaces, and as the formality moves towards more relaxed forms, the species also change.
One of my favourite spaces was the amazing kitchen garden. The produce is utilised in the cafe housed in the art deco house. The Daredevil loved it too!
I loved the time we spent in The Everglades, and can’t wait to see how spectacular it looks on a blue sky sunny day. Might have to visit in Autumn and see the deciduous trees at their best.