The Garden of Ghosts

GLEBE, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Designer:  Terragram Pty Ltd., Australia

The Garden of Ghosts contains many layers of time. Despite many interventions, the past is always present. Contemporary layers coexist or exist only in a newly discovered tension that seeps from juxtaposition of oldest, old, new and future. The future is represented by growth that will intervene in spatial relationships already present – it could confirm or undermine the relative harmony of elements. Strangling figs for example could turn into a rampant green structure that would spatially contest the originally allocated space. The extent of recycled and reused elements is paramount to the degree of environmental sustainability in the garden. Sustainable materials include recycled brick paving, stabilised gravel, recycled sandstone and incorporation of ‘found elements’ like ladders and old door. The property’s colourful history as a private zoo in the 1930s, has left three dimensional footprints in the form of cavities, organic concrete walls, stone garden beds and sheds, integral to the garden’s quirky nature. Permeable surfaces in the garden greatly minimise water run-off, whileplants and materials generally require little maintenance and intervention. There is an abundance of plant life, from tiny figs growing out of cracks to numerous protected trees, over a century old. The green light for vegetation and growth has never been switched off. It almost appears that it is “green” who is the actual master here. The degree of ‘liveability’ of the Garden of Ghosts also contributes to environmental sustainability, with owners choosing to ‘unwind’ in their own backyard rather than travel excessively. The garden has become their escape from every-day life – playful, quirky, romantic, surreal.