Garden guru shares tips on sustainability

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GARDENERS from the Kowie were thoroughly entertained and received a first class lesson in Sustainable Gardening, the subject of gardening guru Keith Kirsten’s talk to the Port Alfred Garden Club, held at the Civic Centre recently.

Kirsten is a consummate professional, a veteran in the field of radio and TV, a published author and lecturer. His company, Keith Kirsten Horticulture International, is one of the major horticultural players in Southern Africa.

MASTER CLASS: South Africa’s garden guru, Keith Kirsten, left, presented a talk on sustainable gardening at the most recent meeting of the Port Alfred Garden Club. With him is club chairwoman Liezl Kleynhans Picture: ROB KNOWLES
MASTER CLASS: South Africa’s garden guru, Keith Kirsten, left, presented a talk on sustainable gardening at the most recent meeting of the Port Alfred Garden Club. With him is club chairwoman Liezl Kleynhans Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Kirsten spoke of sustainable gardening and began by asking what the audience felt he meant by that term.

“It means low maintenance, water-wise, organic and other terms. But it also means producing your own compost and recycling,” he said.

“We don’t understand the concept of recycling here. In other parts of the world they separate their refuse into bags for bottles, metals and organics. Here, we throw it into one bag to be taken away and dumped.”

Kirsten also spoke of the types of plants that would enhance the garden and add to a vista.

“Most men will just build a blank wall to keep nosey neighbours away. Or plant a wall of pine trees. If they see grass they would rather pave it for easy maintenance. But there is so much to do in the garden,” he said. Kirsten also added that paving a garden can bring the temperature down by around four or five degrees.

Kirsten spoke about the plants suitable for sustainability, from the hardy to the petite and the garden club members, as expected, had a lot of questions for him.

Kirsten also donated his fee for his talk to the South African Nursery Association.

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