Lewers Gallery

At the foot of the Blue Mountains, Lewers Gallery also known as Penrith Regional Gallery is one of my favourite places to visit. There is so much to love. First of all, the regular exhibitions are FREE. There are three main exhibition spaces and a small gift shop.

Secondly, there is a gorgeous garden to explore: a variety of trees, exotic plants, all kinds of flowers, a mini bamboo forest, a veggie patch and an old water tower. Also throughout the garden are a number of sculptures. Look out for birds too. They love the garden!

Thirdly: the heritage house! I love historic architecture and this little house is dreamy. Everything has been beautifully restored and maintained: stunning floor to ceiling windows, original fireplaces and floorboards, plenty of vintage details, ornate chimney stacks and a wrap around verandah.

Fourthly, Lewers Café is a winner. Art and food are a magic combination and Lewers Café offers a delicious menu and friendly service. The café overlooks the garden and there are outdoor as well as under cover options for seating.

To top everything off, Lewers Gallery takes art education seriously and offers a range of engaging workshops for students of all ages as well as professional development opportunities for art educators. Check these out on the website: https://www.penrithregionalgallery.com.au/whats-on/

The house and studio spaces at 86 River Road, Emu Plains were bought by artists Gerald and Margo Lewers in the 1940s and a number of their art works can still be seen around the property. The Lewers were leaders in the Australian modernist art movement and their home became a hub for other artists during that time.

In 1979 the historic house, garden and art works were generously donated by the Lewers family to become a regional gallery. From 7 September to 17 November 2019 there will be a special exhibition at the Lewers Gallery to celebrate 40 years since that generous donation was made. The exhibition is aptly named ‘Gifting’.

Can’t wait to see it!

Confessions of a Rhubarb Queen

I have had a long love affair with rhubarb.

Legend has it that when I was a very little girl I went to an afternoon tea party and when asked what I would like to eat I replied, “Rhubarb please!”

That amusing incident earned me the title ‘Rhubarb Queen’ in my family.

Last summer I was walking along the street with my friend and I noticed a bucket of free rhubarb. It was outside a house with a well-tended garden. I had often stopped there to admire the dahlias. Delighted, I took a bunch of rhubarb home and stewed it later that day.

My tastebuds were dancing the cha cha, the jitterbug and everything in between! It was unbelievably good. Just enough tartness and just enough sweetness. Paired with vanilla ice cream, it was a simple but completely satisfying dessert.

Following this I had a New Year epiphany. I decided that my only resolution this year would be to plant some rhubarb in my garden. I did some research and was a little disappointed to find out that I couldn’t plant it straight away. I had to wait.

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time! No more waiting. I scoped out Springwood Growers Market and found a healthy looking rhubarb plant at the awesome Patio Plants stall. You can find Patio Plants Pty Ltd on Facebook. They are regulars at both the Blackheath Growers Market (2nd Sunday of the month) and Springwood Growers Market (4th Sunday of the month).

I chose a sunny well-drained spot in the garden and planted it with lots of love and care. Hopefully there will be something delicious to harvest in the next year or so. Looks like the ‘Rhubarb Queen’ will have to be patient some more. It will be worth it though.

Thankfully, unlike growing rhubarb, stewing rhubarb is quick (and easy)!

Stewed Rhubarb

  • 6 – 8 stalks of rhubarb
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/ 4 cup water
  • Remove and discard the leaves (they are rather toxic, so don’t feed them to your chickens!)
  • Wash the stalks and chop them into 2 cm chunks.
  • Place them in a saucepan with water and sugar.
  • Stew gently for 5-10 minutes or until the stalks are tender.
  • Serve hot over vanilla ice cream.
  • Cold with muesli and yogurt works too.
  • You could also stew the rhubarb with 4 or 5 apples (peeled and sliced). A great combo for a crumble dessert!

Lyttleton Stores

What a treasure trove of creativity, community and sustainable living I discovered when I visited Lyttleton Stores! It is worth taking the time to appreciate all the generosity, skill and innovation that goes into this unique venture.

Lyttleton Stores is a not for profit cooperative that operates an Atelier (for local handmade art and crafts), a Preserve (workshop space), a Pantree (for organic fresh produce), a Kitchen (for homemade products) and a Garden (organic, of course).

The Lyttleton Stores website http://www.lyttletonstores.com.au/ is a also feast of information:

  • there is a Garden Blog with loads of helpful tips
  • interesting interviews with artists and artisans
  • recipes!
  • a range of workshops to book that include: life drawing, seed propagation, spoon carving, sour dough baking, fermentation and preserving, arm knitting and bee keeping!

I am super impressed with all that Lyttleton Stores has to offer and especially because it ticks my big three: Creativity, Community and Simple Living!

You can also get a taste of Lyttleton Stores by visiting their stall at Magpie Markets in Lawson on the third Sunday of each month. There is also instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lyttletonstores/?hl=en

Lyttleton Stores is easy to find at 1 Badgery Crescent, Lawson and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Sorensen’s Glasshouse & Gardens

Do you ever long for somewhere beautiful to sit and unwind? Somewhere relaxing to meet a friend for lunch? Perhaps somewhere peaceful to spend quality time with a loved one? Then Sorensen’s Glasshouse & Gardens is for you.

Sorensen’s Glasshouse is a unique cafe and nursery surrounded by a beautiful tree garden. I stopped by last weekend and when I arrived the winter sun was streaming through the expansive windows of the glasshouse. It was gorgeous. I spent a lovely couple of hours eating a leisurely lunch, checking out the extensive range of local products for sale and exploring the garden. The deciduous trees in the garden are impressive even in their winter state of undress. It will be lovely to go back and see the garden in every season.

At Sorensen’s Glasshouse you can order hot and cold beverages, light meals, picnics and treats. There is also a scrumptious locally made ice cream by Dave Ja Vu which is a must try. There are inside and outside seating options and picnic blankets as well. Picnics are best ordered ahead of time.

Sorensen’s Glasshouse & Gardens is easy to find at 8 Herbert Street, Leura and there is plenty of parking on the road.

More about Sorensen’s Glasshouse & Gardens can be found on instagram: http://@sorensensglasshouse and their website: https://www.sorensensglasshouse.com.au/

Proteas

These are some of my home grown proteas. Aren’t they elegant and fabulous? I am no florist. I just trimmed the stems a bit, put them in some water and they put on their own show! Proteas flower in autumn and grow quite happily in the Blue Mountains. They are native to Southern Africa but are cousins to Australia’s waratahs and banksias. What’s blooming in your garden?