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 grow edible bananas at home

Bananas are a versatile plant in any landscape, and add a lush, tropical look to any area. Although everyone knows the fruit, few people have experience growing edible varieties of the plant. Did you know that bananas can grow it regions other than the tropics? They are actually the world’s largest herb, a plant that goes on producing year after year. Continue reading

How to grow (and preserve) capers

Capers are those little green ‘berries’ that you can buy either packed in salt or pickled in jars. Their sharp and distinctive, piquant flavour is an essential ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes. Spaghetti alla puttenesca is chockers with capers, or you could try caper butter on crusty bread, or capers as a stuffing for fish…yum! But did you know that they’re not actually a berry or even a fruit at all, but the unopened flower bud of the caper bush? Continue reading

How to grow peanuts

Peanuts, also called groundnuts, have the highest protein of any fruit or vegetable, and they’re high in fibre and also free of cholesterol. Although they aren’t real nuts at all. Peanuts are the fruit of a legume, meaning they’re in the pea and bean family and they’re annuals so the plant only lasts one season. It’s surprisingly easy to grow peanuts in tropical through to warm temperate climates, and even in pots, so give it try! Continue reading

How to grow (and eat!) persimmon

If your memories of biting into a home-grown persimmon are of mouth-puckering, eye-scrunching astringency, then think again, as there are lots of sweet, non-astringent varieties you can grow. These persimmons are perfect for eating sliced, whole like a pear, peeled and diced, dried, or even added to a smoothie as a thickener. And they can be grown through a wide variety of climate zones. Continue reading

How to grow saffron

It takes 165 crocus flowers to make just one gram of saffron spice. Saffron is the stigma, or female flower part of the saffron crocus, Crocus sativus. The large numbers of flowers needed plus the high labor costs of carefully picking just that part from the flower make it  the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is currently selling for between $4.00 and $17.00 per gram, depending on quality, with the world’s finest saffron generally coming from the La Mancha area of Spain. But you can grow your own! Continue reading

How to grow curry leaf tree

Curry leaf tree provides that wonderfully fragrant addition to southern Indian curries, soups, dhal and chutney. Although the main reason you would grow it is for its aromatic leaves, it’s also a good hedge, screen or pot plant. Usually known botanically as Murraya koenigii, it’s had a recent name change to Bergera koenigii (the original name given to it by Linnaeus), but you’ll still find it labelled Murraya koenigii in most nurseries. Continue reading

Preparing your garden for dry times

Many parts of the world are predicted to get drier, and already we’ve seen many years of spring, summer and even autumn droughts in Australia, California, Texas and the UK. Even though there will still be wet years, overall many gardeners are finding that the dry times are coming more regularly and more severely and are made worse by higher temperatures and evaporation too. This 4 part series helps you overhaul and prepare your garden to make it more drought proof. Continue reading

Growing broadbeans

Autumn is a great time to sow broad beans for spring harvest. They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and you start by sowing the bean seeds directly into your garden or a large pot. They’ll grow rapidly through the cooler months into large, bushy plants and about 5 months after planting, you’ll have lots of large bean pods ready to harvest. Continue reading

Growing a longan tree

A longan or dragon eye tree is perfect if you like lychees and rambutans but your climate isn’t quite tropical enough, as they will tolerate much cooler temperatures. Longan trees are Dimocarpus longan, an attractive small to medium sized tree with lots of lovely reddish new growth through spring and summer and a heavy canopy of shiny, green leaves, although you may want to keep them smaller or thin the canopy to make harvesting the fruit easier. Continue reading

Growing food in the shade

What can you grow in a permaculture food garden that’s mostly shaded? An important permaculture principle is to plant things where they are going to do their best. Although most vegetables are usually grown in full sun, listen while I find out from permaculturists Lucinda Coates and Margaret Mossakowska about a range of edible plants that will grow in the shade, like leafy vegetables, bush tucker plants and shade-loving herbs like the many types of mint. Continue reading

Designing with grasses

Grasses should be part of every designer’s palette but many people find it difficult to use them to best effect. I’m talking with landscape designer Christopher Owen about the many ways to use grasses in garden design, such as block planting, using a planting matrix, specimen grasses in pots, or even planting them as a hedge. Continue reading

All about frog ponds

Today I’m talking with ecologist Katie Oxenham about frogs, how to make a frog pond and why we need frogs and ponds in our gardens. Frogs control lots of insects pests like mosquitos but also a range of other insects including cockroaches. People often worry that stagnant water in a pond will encourage too many mosquitos but if you keep the water occasionally circulating with a small pump, you shouldn’t have more mozzies than the frogs can handle. Continue reading

How to grow cloves

I hadn’t really thought about cloves being dried flower buds until researching this story. And did you know that cloves, Syzygium aromaticum, are closely related to lillypilly and eucalypts? I’m talking with spice expert, Ian Hemphill from Herbies, about the fascinating history of cloves and their part in the fortunes of the Dutch East India Company, as well as their origins in ‘The Spice Islands’ a handful of tropical Indonesian islands in the Banda Sea.  Continue reading