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 - 13 July 2019

We often hear the expression- You cant put that plant there, it just doesn’t go! Or you can’t mix roses and succulents.
My best is, Oh my those colours don’t go together!!
Well the good news for the uninformed or style fanatics is that they all go together if you just step back from the so called norms and dictates of society and fashion.
The more colours, textures and characters you have living around you, as in nature, the more interesting and progressive you become
Landscapes that are filled with mass planting, stereo monoculture and a set form, create unproductive minds that don’t experience diversity and hence are not colourful in themselves.
I watched the behaviour of people crossing a large city pedestrian plaza which had the odd tree (not nearly enough), some raised planters (all massed with the same plants) and lots of concrete all about.
Most people had heads down and moved across it without giving the landscape a second glance.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 06 July 2019

Good morning to you all.
I know it is has been difficult getting out of bed these last few days but I always wonder how the birds seem to do it.
The sunbirds, robins, thrushes are up long before the sun.
They seem to herald in the day before the daily racket takes off.
It’s a great time to think ahead and do a little bit of sensible garden planning.
While we have the rain I thought maybe we should think further about tree planting which is becoming more and more important with regard to climate change, habitat destruction and of course shade.
Although we live in a rich plant kingdom there is a limit as to what trees we can use when one considers wind, limited water and diverse soil properties.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 29 June 2019

Its hard to believe that we are nearly halfway through the year.
So far it has been quite an interesting one for South Africans… a bit of a rollercoaster, but it all comes together in the garden.
That’s what’s so special about our gardens , we can be creative, productive and happy in our little part of paradise.
The water has improved on last year, and out there in the real world nature is just showing off.
If you want to start July month off with great ideas about long term gardening then get to the Arderne gardens next Sat , July 6, meet at the main entrance at 10am and join the guided tour around one of the oldest gardens in Cape Town. Stick a R40 donation in your pocket, coffee and rusks in your back pack and make it a memorable and productive morning. Contact Berni on 0832817083 if you need to find out more about these amazing garden walks.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 22 June 2019

Well here we are heading for spring!
Soon, we are going to appreciate all those spring flowering bulbs, Namaqualand daisies and other easy pop up annuals.
I hope you managed to plant a whole bunch of mesems which will set the early summer alight and give you many weeks of glitterati!
Once again, at this time brightening up our winter, the aloes are doing their thing.
If you don’t have at least one aloe in the garden you are missing out on a host of activity, especially when it comes to birdlife.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 15 June 2019

Gardening is a big exercise with future consequences and in most cases, we don’t give it it’s due.For some it’s a spur of the moment idea they want to put in place as soon as possible.
A splash of colour near the front door, a much needed shade tree…sometimes a pricey instant job, or changing the design, incorporating new features or a trendy designer vegetable garden.
Well, aren’t we all impatient gardeners, just needing to get it done asap!
Take the instant tree scenario! Nothing wrong with that if you choose a healthy and actively growing specimen!
The big challenge when selecting any tree is whether it is going to fulfil your needs and those of the environment.
The size of the tree is of secondary importance!!

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 08 June 2019

We never seem to talk much about indoor plants these days and I don’t know why.
It was such a big thing in the past…maybe some think its old fashioned to have a plant indoors!!
If you consider our outdoor challenge with water, space and time, maybe getting a few good indoor specimens will help keep us nice and green.
Generally speaking, plants that do well indoors need good indirect light, well drained rich soil and believe it or not…a minimal watering programme.
I you have not had success in the past the reason was probably too much water.
Forgetting to water them can be a lifesaver!!
Certain flowering plants like Cymbidium orchids prefer to be outdoors but can be brought indoors during their flowering period.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 01 June 2019

I have been thinking a lot lately about this thing we do called gardening.
What is it ? What does it do for us?…Is it about us?…Or is it something much bigger than we imagine?
The term gardening is a kind of label we put on the activities we perform in our outdoor space at home.
What is the purpose of it…self-indulgence, a social responsibility, a discipline to keep things orderly just like our parents taught us.
For some maybe it’s just the creation of a space we take ownership of and fill it with beauty so we have a sense of place.
It gives us the opportunity to be creative in design, doing our own thing without too much knowledge of the plant material…but happy with the visual result. I think gardening is a lot bigger than all of that!
It’s what we should be doing to reinstate the natural environment that was destroyed in the first place….not only for ourselves.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 25 May 2019

I thought we would start with some reminders this morning.
Firstly don’t forget the Cape Horticultural Soc monthly meeting next Monday June 3, 8pm at the Athenaeum in Newlands. Sue Kingma will be talking on New trends with House plants, a subject that is been reinvented, its not just about the same old..same old!!
The July talk will as always be a highlight, that is…the Chelsea Flower Show presented by Landscape designer Leon Kluge, this years designer.
The SA stand has once again made us proud so this will be your chance to get the inside story on this great event.
Please contact the secretary on 021 531 5713 for more details and visit their website for future programs and membership.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 18 May 2019

We often forego the soul of individual plants and replace it with physical attributes and stylishness we seek.
We admire its structure, flower colour, form and its contribution to the overall design but somehow forget it’s a living thing that interacts with all organisms both above and below the soil.
Should we not be putting all in perspective and see their true character and value…. not just how they look.
Whilst judging a garden many years ago my esteemed colleague and fellow judge commented that the garden in question needed structure, lacked form and discipline…. He felt we could not relate to it.
Well once I had picked myself up and dusted off, I responded by saying that the garden was perfectly natural, needed to be a bit wilder and could lose some of the many hard landscape features which were strictly ornamental.
He didn’t understand when I gave the garden 9/10.

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 11 May 2019

We often tend to fall into a state of inertia during winter, maybe its the cold and wet, weaker light and short days, maybe just short sighted!!
Keeping warm, good food and wine takes precedence.
Well just the opposite is happening out there in the wild, it’s on the move, hopefully in your garden as well.
You can definitely consider cultivating some interesting herbs that do well in our winter.
Take Rosemary, it’s an all year round shrub with all year round use.
It flowers for long periods, requires little attention…least of all a lot of water, has no pests I know of, and fits into a fynbos come wild garden with no effort!!
Besides, it is essential in the hot kitchen!

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 04 May 2019

Today it’s about wild, interactive, fun, environment friendly gardening!!!!
Many of us are still stuck with concepts such as meadow gardens, country gardens, rose gardens, English gardens, Japanese gardens and Zen gardens but we do have a licence to create our very own wild Cape gardens.
I know many are still afflicted with ODS…the Over Design Syndrome.
45 degree hedges, straight stripes-colour co-ordinated, structured veggie gardens and highly trained obedient trees!
Could it be time to throw away the dumpy level, colour charts, sculpture equipment and broaden our horizons by just mimicking nature?
Like all other living creatures plants wants to excel, flower, fruit and reach their full potential.
In order to achieve this, here is some starters advice..

The Garden Chat with Sandy Munro - 27 April 2019

This past week was interesting as we are now beginning to feel the cool and see the change it brings.
One definitely feels it early in the morning which is quite different from a week or two ago.
The change of seasons is exciting and full of energy and we really need to get out there and become part of it.
Cape Town is not known for its autumn splendour but I have already seen the start of leaf change with Liquidambers, Pin Oaks and Fiddlewoods around the city.Hopefully a sign of a cold wet winter ahead.
An Autumn favourite is the ornamental grape that provides shade on many patios and traditional homes throughout the Western Cape.

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