Preston’s Garden

Pines similar to those which lined the entrance to the Preston driveway

As the autumn season comes to an end, thinking about the possibilities of the winter garden can be exhilarating. When the famous Australian artist Margaret Preston resided at Berowra in the 1930s she had created one of the most spectacular prize-winning gardens in this area. It is often true that a garden reflects the personality of the maker. Preston, for sure, was gifted with the proverbial green thumb.

In dreamlike and fleeting moments, I have contemplated the idea of recreating my own version of a Preston garden – brilliant, shimmering and vibrant – quickly the idea dissipates, the work being insurmountable.

During their time in Berowra, Bill and Margaret Preston loved to host weekend parties graced with the presence of the Sydney literati. Their guests would make the long trek from the city to the far-off rural village of Berowra.  The turfed driveway flanked by the verdant growth of the native cypress tree made an impressive entrance before reaching the Californian bungalow style home – modern living had reached Berowra.  The wide borders on either side of the driveway contained an array of native bushes ranging from the Australian torch plant, native plum, and the pink and red variety of bottlebrush to the more architectural form of the blue eucalyptus.

The Preston’s often worked side by side in the creation of a unique and vibrant display combining natives with a cottage style garden which flourished by their nurturing devotion.

The photograph shows the two remaining cypress trees standing tall which once formed the entrance of the Preston’s driveway. The trees have now become the living presence reminders of what was the showpiece home and garden in Berowra.

Rhonda Davis

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