Garden Chat

FINE MUSIC RADIO  |  Podcast , ±5 min episodes every 6 days  | 
Garden Chat is a comment on a more natural approach to gardening. It covers all aspects of everyday gardening practice with the emphasis on soil management, utilizing the correct plant material and following an environmental code of conduct.
The aim is to bring both garden and gardener into the natural realm. It is important for us to know the impact our gardens are having on the environment as a whole, so that we can play a positive role.

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The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 09 November 2019

It seems we’re into summer phase two and have a lift off..
The bulk of our extended spring blossoms have passed and with it the amazing display of bulbs.
It was certainly a good year for Freezias, Sparaxis, daffodils and the Ranunculus family.
Once the leaves have dried a bit, lift them, divide them and store them in a cool dry spot until March/ April when they can be planted out again.
The Clivia’s also gave a great show (some still are) and they can be divided up after flowering or after the seed has been harvested. That is if you want to try your hand at seed propagation.
It’s now the turn of Agapanthus, not only those big flowering varieties we see on everyone’s pavement but the dwarf varieties that I think make an impact and are most suitable for small spaces.
Agies are the all purpose plants that do so well in just about every position including their use in containers.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 26 October 2019

Now might be a good time to look at unruly plants which have gone ballistic
after the cool wet conditions this past winter and of course our productive
Ivy is a good example as it once again takes hold of anything in its path.
Personally I think it is better to remove it entirely but understand that if its
covering a garden wall and doing a good greening job, keeping control is vital.
It can be cut right back against the wall and although a bit unsightly for a while it will cover up in no time.
Another green monster when it comes to energy and money is the lawn, an
ongoing regime that needs constant attention.
There are more important and more creative things to do in a garden so I
suggest you try the following.
-Keep lawn watering to a minimum…that is probably not more than 3 times a
week but this will depend on soil type and grass species!
-Sandy soils need water just about every day in the hot season, clay soils might only need a good watering once or twice a week!!

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 19 October 2019

I would guess that many proud homeowners are attempting to get their lawns back into prime condition.
After our good rains maybe it’s just a matter of keeping them looking good
We all know that lawns need a lot of water and attention to look perfect.
The question is will we always have enough water?
The weather might be kind to us for a few seasons but the chances are we land up in trouble when extended dry periods come around again.
Whether you have a borehole or not, we cannot afford to water lawns unless they are very small or made up of waterwise species that can do with the absolute minimum.
What is the alternative if we don’t want large areas of bare earth which in turn contribute to mo re evaporation, unwanted weed growth and in some cases a potential dust bowl.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 12 October 2019

Every year as spring and summer merge we are totally spoilt as we have this
amazing preview of plants that do so well in our climate.
Many are common, some are rare, but nevertheless all can be represented in our gardens.
Sustainable, natural gardens are mostly made up of common locals and other suitable indigenous plants that are waterwise and withstand our winter rain and long dry summers.
Can we ever get tired of Confetti bushes, Pelargoniums, Arum lilies,
Pincushions, the Buchu family and Agapanthus to mention a few?
The Cape Floristic Region has over 9000 species, but to that we can add many other suitable non-invasive indigenous plants which do well here in the Western Cape.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 28 September 2019

This time of the year we feel and see growth both in ourselves and gardens.
There is a need to get stuff in the ground even if there is a chance of a dry summer ahead.
Some have gardens that are choc block with overgrown plants and feel there is no need for more, others have a gap to fill here and there while many just make space by doing an annual clean up, reducing, dividing bulbs and removing some of those tired perennials that have been around since previous owners.
No matter we always need some new colour and a dose of fresh veg and herbs.
You either do veggies or you don’t but from my experience we all do herbs, so when someone asked me to recommend a few fillers.. my answer was ..why not useful herbs.
They are multi taskers. Ornamental, edible and environmentally friendly when it comes to insects.
Yes, there is no doubt that some can become invasive if left to themselves but I believe that is a management challenge.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 21 September 2019

Indigenous Alternatives

Good morning! After spending time in the nursery, I ask myself, are we in a rut when it comes to choosing plants or are we just been ill advised by parrot horticulturists and sales people who say the same thing, day in…day out.
I’m not sure whether its fashion or ignorance, no matter what, we need to change our buying habits when it comes to plants.
Do we have to always buy the same old plants that have been used time and time again?
Is it because we see them growing successfully or are they the only ones
continually recommended?
Why don’t we think about change “for a change”, take off the blinkers, open the mind, and use other plants which do the same or better job.
I visited a most beautiful home a while back. Unusual architecture dominated with natural elements and a well-designed garden.
The garden was 90% local plants but guess what had been planted to screen the neighbours? A Leylandii hedge!!! Very disappointing!

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 14 September 2019

If you missed Abour Week last week, then don’t despair as every day of the
year is Arbor Day.
There are many special trees for Cape gardens that I feel should be used a lot more as they are the most productive in our environment.
Maybe we should be looking a bit closer at the lesser known trees that play a big role in our environment.
Take Olea capensis the Ironwood which is found in and near our local forests.
One of the nicest specimens I have seen is in Kirstenbosch it’s an absolute sight when in flower which is normally about December but can be earlier or later.
They are relatively slow growers so a good tree for future generations, but I
must add that in a garden with a bit of care they do tend to grow faster.
The scented white flowers bring a variety of pollinators and the fruit is a great favourite of the Rameron Pidgeon and other larger fruit eaters plus Guinea fowl when they fall ripened to the floor.
Besides all the wildlife activity around it…it is a very garden friendly plant from a human point of view.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 07 September 2019

For many this is probably been the most exciting week of the year.
It’s officially spring even if it doesn’t feel like it and it is still Arbour week so we can all do something positive to make our world a better place.
The 2019 SA Tree of the year is the bushveld Maroela. It’s not suitable for Western Cape conditions so replace it with any one of our local guys.
We lose more trees than we plant on earth, actually between 10 and 15 billion trees a year are lost which equals 80,000 acres of forest disappearing every day!!!

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 31 August 2019

August is sometimes referred to as the wait and see month but I think they got it wrong as there is no waiting and lots to see. Blossoms galore, on deciduous fruit, old fashioned roses and traditional deciduous ornamentals like Weigelia, Dogwood and Flowering Quinces. It’s a big month for bulbs and early flowering daisies in the wild and so should it be happening in your garden. One local that always appeals to me is Coleonema album- The Cape May or White Confetti Bush.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 24 August 2019

We are surrounded by blossoms…fruit trees, mesems, daisies galore and all those early spring flowering roses like the dog rose and banksia rose, often referred to as old roses. The flowering varieties of Crab apples, Quinces, Peaches, Plums are also looking spectacular but sadly not used often in Cape gardens due to wet winters. Polygala myrtifolia –September bush growing wild on a pavement, seems to think that spring is forever and has been at it for a while.

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