We know that whilst it’s inspiring to see what’s behind the garden gate – from prized dahlia collections and productive vegetable gardens, to food forests and urban sanctuaries – it’s the gardeners themselves that really make these spaces special.
Every gardener has their own journey of learning curves, revelations, successes, and gardening heroes. Our hosts want to share their gardens and knowledge with curious visitors. So whether this is the start of your own gardening journey, you want to learn a specialised skill or are a passionate gardener who wants to connect with others, think of Secret Gardens as your next-generation gardening club.
We’re committed to making gardening skills accessible to all, so 10% percentage of every booking fee goes to a garden-based charity in your local area.
Secret Gardens founder, Jane Mahoney, has been a keen/slightly obsessive gardener for as long as she can remember – whether tending potted herbs on an inner city balcony or helping to maintain her parent’s cottage garden in rural Canterbury .
Most recently, Jane and her partner have been taming and restoring their one acre hillside property on Banks Peninsula. Over the past six years she has planted a permaculture orchard, established a productive kitchen garden and acquired a dahlia obsession. Inspired by the existing natives on the property, and the abundant birdlife, she has also developed a keen interest in the plants that would have grown there for centuries. With an opportunity to rethink how she wanted to spend her days (gardening), why it was important to her (growth and wellbeing of every kind), and how it could be even better (a connected community), she founded Secret Gardens in November 2021.
Jane’s daughter Sophie is the other half of Secret Gardens. As an artist and writer with an interest in social histories of landscape, and a new mum wanting to contribute something productive to the world her daughter will grow up in, Sophie has been Jane’s sounding board (and biggest fan!) from day one. She’s an allotment holder at Sanctuary Mahi Whenua gardens in Auckland, and calls Jane for gardening (and cooking, and parenting) advice daily.
Jane’s gardening hero is Sunday Reed, an art collector and patron, who broke away from high society Melbourne life, and, over decades, transformed a neglected 16 acre dairy farm on the banks of the Yarra River into a parkland, kitchen garden and sculpture park. Sophie’s gardening hero is Jane.
Our values are front and centre of everything we do at Secret Gardens.
They inform every decision we make, and encapsulate all that we want to achieve with our connected community.
of knowledge, ideas and expertise—all in a supportive and safe learning environment.
and enabling the next generation of gardeners to create productive, diverse and beautiful gardens, and affect environmental change.
Cultivating a connected community of passionate and curious gardeners.
Giving people the tools and knowledge to make the best of the resources and spaces available to them.
Secret Gardens is deeply committed to promoting sustainable and regenerative gardening practices.
Growing together. Literally growing our gardens of course, but also growing knowledge, connection, community, and wellbeing .
We are Kaitiakitanga—of the land and of knowledge—and it’s our job not just to protect, but to nourish these for future generations.
A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.
– Gertude Jekyll
We are always on the lookout for inspiring gardens and gardeners.
If you’re interested in finding out more about sharing your garden through the Secret Gardens website, email us and we’ll send you an information pack.