Wendy had no idea what she’d find when she started clearing up the rubbish, down the hill, below the big fig tree. She even had no concept of the shape of this overgrown smothered valley – let alone what could be grown there.
At the eastern end, a sprawling Port Jackson fig and camphor laurel; at the western end, the massive sentinel guard Moreton Bay fig, and right in the centre is an old thick clump of green and white variegated bamboo.
On the flat, not far from the fence, Arkie’s Bangalow Palms predominate: these were a gift from her late daughter, Arkie, when Wendy first started clearing.
Then there is the large vertical sandstone rockface. “We had no idea this impressive rockface was here,” Wendy recalls. “It was quite exciting uncovering it, and determining that this was the cliff side of the original tidal beach, and Sydney Harbour once lapped in here. So it’s a true heritage piece. You can see the core marks where the lower half of the cliff has been blasted back when Railways reconfigured this area.”
Near the bottom of the cliff face, the zigzag path leads up the high side of the valley, zigzagging its way to the top. It’s the only path from the bottom to the top of the Secret Garden that has no steps.