Originally published on Broadsheet Melbourne.
A lush (and spiky) store overflows with greenery in Melbourne’s south-east.
A flustered man storms into Cool Cactus. “Hi there, my cactus is turning purple, is that normal?” he asks.
It’s a typical panicked question for the owner of Cool Cactus, Naomi Burd.
The plant store is the first business for Burd, who has a background in floristry. It’s a quaint, whitewashed space where the plants pop out – predominantly the cacti. “Cacti are really good house plants – they’re low maintenance, beautifully sculptural and strong formed.”
The store, which is tucked away on a street off Glenferrie Road, also sells succulents and large plants ideal for the office, bedrooms or living spaces.
Burd delves into the symbolism of each plant as opposed to merely seeing it as filling space or providing a splash of green. “I want this place to be a gifting destination, where people buy baby presents, engagement gifts, for housewarmings – there’s something in the store for everyone.”
For instance, the “Old Man of the Andes” (a cactus native to Mexico) is a perfect gift for a grandfather, according to Burd, because it’s coated in coarse white hair like an elderly man (which it grows to protect itself from sunlight).
Cool Cactus also sells homewares, artworks, pots and interior-decoration books, which Burd sourced from her recent trip to South Korea and China as well as local trade fairs.
You’ll find brass plant–shaped mobiles from US sculptor Natalie Joy and threaded wall artwork from Melbourne-based textile artist Tammy Kanat. Burd is constantly on the hunt for new pieces, so the offering rotates.
Cool Cactus is located right next to a car park for easy transfer of plants. For larger items, Burd also offers a courier service.
6A Barkly Avenue, Armadale
0474 357 827
Mon to Sat 10am–5pm
Photo credit: Kristoffer Paulsen