Plant Focus

Cacti are cool. In terms of plants that rate among homeowners and landscape designers, they are right up there. And when you look at everything they bring to garden design it’s not too hard to see why, says Nick, Secret Gardens Senior Landscape Architect.
We’ve been underestimating the importance of trees in the urban landscape. And it’s time to stop. From sources of solace during lockdown to battling the damaging effects of urban heat islands, trees are a critical part of city landscapes in both private and public spheres.
Nothing heralds the arrival of spring like a joyful burst of blooms. Whether it’s the first magnolia blossoms crowning an otherwise bare tree or the heady whiff of jasmine, we love the way spring flowers signal the end of the dreary winter months and the warmth and beauty of the warmer seasons. From the obvious to the exotic, these are 10 of our favourite spring-blooming plants.
Winter can be an unexpectedly productive time in the garden. Though the rampant new growth and budding blooms of spring are yet to arrive in the majority of the garden, the vegetable beds can be chock-full of delicious, fresh winter vegetables.
Choosing a colour scheme for the garden is an essential part of planning the perfect outdoor space. Do you want a wash of vibrant tropical colours, or the gentle pastel hues of a Monet? The colours you choose will set the mood of the garden and dictate how you feel when you sit in it.
The indoor plants trend is here for the long haul and we hope it never wanes. Bringing a little of the outdoors inside not only helps us to feel connected with nature, potted plants also help to purify the air and make our homes healthier. Plus they simply look fantastic!
The ebb and flow of trends in the world of landscaping might not be as furiously fast-moving as that of fashion or even interiors, but we certainly do see plants come in and out of vogue, both outside and inside the home – witness the Instagram obsession with the fiddle leaf fig.
We love indoor plants for so many reasons – they help us connect with nature, purify the air and blur the boundaries between inside and out – but plenty of people are scared to bring potted greenery into their home. If you’re a self-described ‘black thumb’, read on for our pick of indoor plants and top tips to keep them alive and thriving.
Privacy is a common concern in Sydney’s densely populated inner suburbs, but even in more luxuriously spacious properties, adjacent buildings – especially apartment blocks – can turn your garden haven into a goldfish bowl. But the kneejerk solution of building tall walls can leave you feeling boxed in. The challenge then is to gain a reasonable degree of privacy without inducing claustrophobia.
Is a hedge the best way to define your garden’s boundaries? At secret gardens, we’re suckers for all things green, but there are plenty of sound arguments to support our love of the humble hedge. By thinking outside the box, a hedge can be much more than a basic boundary plant, adding colour and life to the garden, and making the backyard a more comfortable place to be.