Nioka Open Garden

Nioka Open Garden

The hills of Research in Melbourne’s outer north-east are a long way from Johannesburg where garden owner Jack Lätti grew up – but there are hints of South Africa everywhere in the aloes, boulders and structures in his garden. ‘Nioka’ meaning, ‘green hill’, is literally perched on top of a hill with breathtaking views of distant mountains.

Jack is a ceramic artist who creates very original pottery, ranging from tableware to amazing ‘vessels’ for potted succulents. Jack’s ceramic artistry has fused with a career in landscape design and construction and the result is a garden that celebrates both his wonderful collection of succulent plants and his ceramic art.

The succulents also have the advantage of being fire retardant and their architectural forms nestle comfortably in the surrounding landscape of eucalypts. At the entrance to the garden, larger aloes such as Aloe barbarae, and the striking Aloe ferox and Aloe marlothii feature in the new front garden beds. Closer to the house is the sculpture garden, featuring a Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris) and Jack’s ceramic art displayed on tree stump bollards. The ‘lapa’ garden features a fire pit, South African ╩╗braai╩╝ (barbecue) area and succulent plants such as cacti, euphorbias, stapelias, echeverias, crassulas, and agaves, which provide year-round flower and foliage colour. Rocks have been carefully placed to provide textural elements, and are used as stepping-stones and to help channel rainwater throughout the garden.

A nursery area is used for propagating succulents from mother stock, and these young plants are then used creatively within Jack’s ceramic art pieces. Visitors are welcome to wander through the nursery and explore Jack’s working pottery studio. Plants and ceramic art will be for sale at the garden opening.



  • Saturday, 19 May 2018 | 10:00 AM - 04:30 PM
  • Sunday, 20 May 2018 | 10:00 AM - 04:30 PM


Nioka Open Garden, 105 Gumtree Road, Research 3095  View Map

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