They say timing is everything and with the opening of the Healing Garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 23 November there could not be a more appropriate destination that is open and ready to receive pandemic-weary visitors.
After the year that has been 2021 there is now a place of calm and beauty that can help regenerate both the mind and the body.
The Healing Garden was inspired by Heide’s co-founder, Sunday Reed and is a tribute to her love for nature and her garden.
The new iteration has been perfectly designed by landscape architecture studio Openwork, and extrapolates Reed’s ideas through a contemporary vision.
As a garden designed to facilitate healing and restoration for vulnerable communities, the Healing Garden is an integral addition to Heide and complements the other attractions that are available for visitors to enjoy.
The new Healing Garden is located on the original footprint of Reed’s kitchen garden adjacent to Heide Cottage, the home of Sunday and John Reed.
The Reeds created a home for a coterie of artists, intellectuals and writers in the mid-1930s and many of Australia’s foremost artists such as Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker and Mirka Mora enjoyed time with the Reeds at Heide.
Sunday Reed was not only a vital supporter of artists but was an avid gardener and through this new Healing Garden her passion for nature lives on.
“For Sunday Reed, who founded Heide with her husband John, gardening went hand-in-hand with art, poetry, cooking, love and life. Her garden was a creative outlet and a place of respite and rejuvenation. Like Sunday, the Heide team today recognises that gardens and nature can help improve people’s wellbeing and restore a sense of equilibrium, something that will be particularly important now and in the coming months,” says Heide Artistic Director Lesley Harding.
Over time the original kitchen garden was replanted with a diverse mix of rainforest species, native bush foods, eucalypt trees and ornamental flowering plants but with the new Healing Garden there is a more structured plan that incorporates six clusters of different planting styles.
Upon entry visitors encounter the Scented Entries area that will provide year-round fragrance and appropriately sets the scene for the journey to come.
Along with the Sensory Kitchen Garden, the Haptic Play Garden and the Bush Garden there are The Meadow and the Wild Garden.
The meandering pathways that Reed first created have been retained however now there are small areas for contemplation and new seating made from Heide Modern’s leftover limestone, positioned under eucalypts, that offer a place for reflection and relaxation.
The Healing Garden is a place to wander, alone or with others, to discover and explore nature at its best.
With flowers, trees and herbs, accompanied by birds and insects this is a place to revitalise the senses and experience the joy that only nature can provide.
Openwork Director, Mark Jacques concludes, “By increasing diversity, colour, texture, and sensory stimulus, the Healing Garden becomes a space for surrender and escape from the everyday, a place to recharge and step away from normal behaviours. As visitors walk through the garden, we hope they will slow down, hear the birds and leaves swaying in the wind, see the butterflies, smell the flowers and accept the invitation to pause and mindfully explore the detail around them.”
Photography: Clytie Meredith