Interview with SAGIC chairlady, Ida-Marie Strydom

This year the SAGIC SANA convention is taking place in the Drakensberg from the 12th to 15th June. The first SAGIC convention, 17 years ago in 2000, was held at the same venue. This year’s green theme is Back to your Roots.  

The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) is an umbrella organisation that encompasses all plant loving industries (green industries) such as: landscape architecture, landscape installation & maintenance, interior plantscaping, irrigation, plant nurseries and turf.

SAGIC SANA convention 2017

We sat down with the chairlady of SAGIC to talk about the 2017 SAGIC SANA convention.  Ida-Marie Strydom, director of Life Green Group, heads up the Life Landscapes Installation’s department and Pretoria branch. She has also worked on projects like Sun City, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and Menlyn Maine.

Ida talking about SAGIC

  1. What are you looking forward to about this year’s SAGIC convention

I am looking forward to networking with peers, colleagues and friends. We often get so caught up in our daily lives, that we forget to connect with key-players in the green industry and don’t always get exposed to new ideas or trends taking hold.  I think it is important to get exposed to new ways of doing business and to learn from each other.  For example, Life Landscapes has just gone through some revolutionary changes in the landscaping profession.

I am also excited to attend the seminars this year, as we have a very high caliber of speakers. Obviously, the awards are important as they honour the best-of -the-best in the industry, giving well-deserved recognition to outstanding work in the green industry.

life landscapes

Images taken from Ida's personal garden

  1. Why is SAGIC so important to people in the planting/green profession?

SAGIC supports and promotes organisations, institutions, private/public companies and/or any individual who seeks involvement, advice or participation in any of the green activities, objectives and commitments. We aim to uphold best practice and to develop good green practices. SAGIC facilitates issues of national interest and establishes networking opportunities in the green industry.

We pride ourselves on our role in enhancing knowledge, skills and capabilities through various training and educational interventions.

ida's garden

Images taken from Ida's personal garden

  1. What has your experience been like as chairlady?

It was an honour to be asked by representatives of the green industry to steer this council.  The role related to my previous role at South African Landscapers Institute (SALI) as well as my current role as director of Life Landscapes. I feel hugely privileged to contribute to the future of the green industry and want to continue ethos set out by my predecessors.

SAGIC's success is due to the professional and dedicated input of all council members, as well as the continuous support we receive from our members, sponsors and supporters.

ida-marie strydom director life green group

Ida chatting about landscaping in South Africa.

  1. What are your thoughts and concerns about landscaping industry in South Africa?

Despite the political and economic turmoil, water, is any gardener’s primary concern at the moment; we live in a water scarce country. I think South Africa, and I know Life Landscapes, is making an effort to combat water-wise landscaping issues on landscaping sites. We are now utilising xeriscaping and grey water harvesting as part of our services.

The challenges landscapers face have increased in complexity, given the growing demands for 'greener' solutions’ while maintaining affordability due to economic burdens, increasing labour costs, climate change and water shortages.

life landscapes

Images taken from Ida's personal garden

  1. What do you think about the youth coming into landscaping?

A younger workforce means greater innovation and improvements in technology that ultimately will result in the improvement of service, staff training and revenue growth. The use of software, mobile technology and digital marketing tools are becoming essential. I know Life Landscapes is working on our digital footprint.

We will continue supporting young people who want to pursue a career with plants and SAGIC makes this possible. Hopefully the innovation of the youth matched with the expertise of the ‘oldies’ in the industry will make the future of the green industry more powerful.

succulent garden life landscapes

Images taken from Ida's personal garden

  1. Is landscaping a safe career in a country affected by water restrictions?

The principles of sustainability are arising in all sectors of society and business.  Leaders in every industry are rooting for a 'greener industries'. The world is finally speaking our language of 'greening-everything'. This is our time to shine.

 However, we, as the green industry, need to earn the right to be leaders in sustainable development through innovation, effective collaboration and continuous engagement.

Despite doing what we can to limit our consumption and implementing sustainable practices -  natural resources like water continue to be scares. We have to think creatively and come up with new solutions when it comes to water. Water-wise gardening and resilient landscaping will continue to be the main drivers in our industry for many years to come. We just need to focus on educating clients and the South African citizens.

succulents

Images taken from Ida's personal garden

Ida-Marie Strydom on her favourite plants and her garden.

Preferred landscaping style?

I don’t really have a favourite landscaping style, it’s very subjective to the building or the area. I personally like plants that take care of them self. 

Favourite plants?

Just like the cobbler’s children having no shoes, the landscaper’s garden gets no attention. Working with plants all day you don’t have time to take care of your own.

You also see what works on a landscaping site from years of experience. I am a massive fan of succulents and I prefer hot palette gardens using colours like orange, yellow and red.

Some of my favourite plants are:

  • All Succulents
  • Grass aloe (Aloe cooperii)
  • Lucky-bean tree (Erythrina Lysistemon)
  • Pride of De Kaap (Bauhinia galpinii)
  • Red-hot polka (Kniphifora)
  • River Indigo (Indigofera juncanda)
roses in ida-marie strydom garden

Images taken from Ida's personal garden