Podcast 83: Joke dad, garden secrets and pass-the-Corona party


Matt Cantwell of Secret Gardens

It’s another showbag of conflict, calm and coronavirus craziness on the Flat Chat Wrap podcast this week.

First, inspired by a question from our Forum, we discuss what you can do when someone who shouldn’t even be at a strata committee meeting – his daughter is the lot owner – bullies the other members.

Our suggested remedies range from using existing rules – non-members shouldn’t speak unless the committee votes to allow it –  to standing orders that empower the secretary to “name” disruptive  elements.

As a last resort, you could consider employing security guards or even calling the police.

Secret Garden secrets

In a more restful mode, we talk to gardening guru and landscaper extraordinaire Matt Cantwell about what you can and should do with plants on the balcony.

Matt is a passionate proselytiser for the power of plant life, and he really makes you feel your life is lacking if you don’t have some greenery around you.

We took the opportunity to find out how his philosophy fits with apartment living and here’s the gist of what he had to say, as a Q and A.

What plants would you put on a small balcony?

  • Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Mother in laws tongue’ or Aspidistra elatior ‘Cast iron plant’,
  • both great for shade, low water use.
  • Plants that can be easily trimmed to the pot proportions like Buxus microphylla
  • japonica ‘Japanese Box hedge or Crassula ovata ‘Jade’ both low water use as well.

What plants would you put on a large terrace?

If you can, pop a tree in a large pot.

  • Olea europaea ‘Olive tree’.
  • Plumeria acutifilia ‘Frangipani’
  • Acer palmatum ‘Japanese Maple’
  • Palms are also great too, Howea forsteriana ‘Kentia palm’
  • Camaerops Humilis – ‘European fan palm’

If you like plants but are really bad at looking after them, what should you choose for your balcony or inside your home?

Anything drought tolerant would be good

  • Euphorbia ingens – ‘Candleabra tree’
  • Echinocactus grusonii – ‘Golden barrel cactus’
  • Agave ‘Blue glow’
  • Crassula varieties like ‘ovata’, ‘bluebird’ or ‘max cook’,
  • Raphiolepsis ‘Snow maiden’ or ‘Oriental Pearl’.

If you have limited space and want to go for herbs and maybe even some vegetables rather than flowering plants, what are your best options?

  • Rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano, basil, parsley, mint, lettuce, rocket and tomatoes.

What are the best balcony plants for screening and privacy?

  • Lilly pilly – These come in many varieties.
  • Podocarpus – Maki or elatus
  • Raphiolepsis indica

What about indoor plants for a small space?

  • Aloe vera
  • Anthurium andraeanum
  • Echievera sp
  • Spathiphyllum or ‘Peace lilly
  • Peperomia
  • Pothos

Pass the Corona

After chatting to Matt about flower power, our discussion takes a slightly less fragrant tone when we look at the disgraceful antics of the 60 partygoers who were fined $1000 each by police after they took over a short-term let (which has a track record of driving its neighbours nuts) and blew the Covid restrictions away.

FYI,  this party house wouldn’t even have been available if our politicians had taken a break from watering down our short-term rental code of conduct and got it out where it might actually save some lives in these times of covid crisis.

But what can apartment residents do when the pollies keep dragging their feet and summer – when city apartments become party central – is just around the corner?  

There’s all that and more in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.

Listen here

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One Reply to “Podcast 83: Joke dad, garden secrets and pass-the-Corona party”

  1. Jimmy-T says:

    This is now being discussed in the Flat Chat Forum

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