Marianne Cannon

About Marianne Cannon

Marianne Cannon has been broadcasting as Real World Gardener on radio 2RRR 88.5fm in Sydney, since September 2009, and the program is now syndicated to radio stations around Australia. It's about growing your own, the abc of plants, and how to create sustainable gardens to fit into today's environment. Not just a show about plants; it has a strong green and ecological bent, with co-presenters addressing issues such as native animals and plants, water conservation, composting, reducing waste, protecting native species and more.

How to choose, clean and sharpen your secateurs

Secateurs are one of your most important gardening tools and will get used most times you go out into the garden. Thats why, if you’re a new gardener, you should invest in a good pair. Most long-time gardeners have a favourite pair they’ve been using for years but tragedy can strike and those long-loved secateurs are lost or damaged. Here’s a handy three part guide about how you should choose, clean and sharpen your secateurs. Continue reading

Barn owls and crested terns

Today I’m talking with ecologist Sue Stevens about barn owls and crested terns. Barn owls are not common in urban areas but are found throughout Australia in grasslands and open woodland. Fish-eating crested terns frequent coastal areas with protected areas for breeding. Continue reading

What’s eating my lilly pilly?

All down the east coast of Australia, gardeners with lilly pilly hedges have been noticing lots of chewed and damaged foliage. While it used to be pimple psyllid that most affected lilly pillies, causing those ugly pimply bumps all over the leaves followed by lots of sooty mould, there’s now a relatively new insect pest that’s doing as much, if not more, damage on Syzygium australe and its cultivars – a native green leaf-eating beetle called Paropsides calypso**. Continue reading

Cockatoos, crimson rosellas and currawongs

How well do you know some of our iconic and most common Australian birds? I talk with ecologist Sue Stephens about the destructive, snowy-white sulphur-crested cockatoo; the vividly-coloured crimson rosella; and the black and white pied currawong, and why it’s often an unwelcome visitor in your garden. Continue reading

How to grow and use licorice

Today I’m talking with herb specialist Ian Hemphill of Herbies Spices about growing that very tasty plant, licorice (or liquorice if you are in the UK). Forget the sticky black confectionary licorice – you can make your own sweet treats like licorice icecream and even chewable sticks from your own home-grown plant. Continue reading

Why has my plant got yellow leaves?

Yellowing leaves is a common problem on both indoor and garden plants. Today I’m talking with Steve Falcioni about how you can work out what’s causing yellow leaves on your plant. There’s a wide range of possibilities from leaf age and season, nutrient deficiencies, incorrect pH, low temperatures, over- and under-watering, to pest and disease attack. Continue reading

How to grow cumin

Cumin is the popular seed spice that you find in Indian curries but it is also used widely in Egyptian, Mexican and Moroccan cuisine. If your area has warm, dry summers then you can grow your own cumin and collect the seed to grind fresh for your own cooking. Listen while I chat with Ian Hemphill of Herbies about how to grow your own cumin. Continue reading

Bandicoot, microbat & broad-tailed gecko

Today I’m profiling three native species that have probably been in your Australian garden but it’s unlikely you’ve actually seen them. Nocturnal bandicoots inspire both delight and horror among gardeners; broad-tailed geckos are so well camouflaged, you might not even see one that’s close by; and microbats are the tiny cuties of an animal that fill some people with irrational fear. Continue reading

How to grow and use fenugreek

Today I’m talking with Ian Hemphill from Herbies Spices about a less commonly used spice called fenugreek. Botanically Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is a legume, which means it’s part of the bean family. The seed’s characteristic bitter flavour is used as an important balance to the sweetness of other spices in Indian and African cooking and its leaves are a delicious cut-and-come-again addition to stir fries and vegetable curries. Fenugreek is a great plant for beginner gardeners and those without much space. Continue reading