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11. März 2018. I meet Daniel Sigler at the Casa Encendida where he reads silently the El Pais while I discuss the (then) future Datscha Radio with the Radio Hortelana ladies Elena and Carolina. It is the day of the agricultural market in the Retiro Park, so after a quick side trip to Esta es Una Plaza, Daniel and I walk up to the park. He carries a huge umbrella that provides also a bit of shelter for the microphone that I had to switch on as we „talk garden“ for most part of our conversation already. Daniel is one of the foundesr of „La Cabaña del Retiro“, a „garden in the garden“, a place for horticultural education, self empowerment, and spiritual well-being. He is also a teacher of Shia-tsu, and his views on the corporeal and spiritual elements in gardening are well-grounded and for a great part based on Eastern philosophy and medicinal knowledge.

Daniel Sigler

The Cabaña was started about 14 years ago with a handful of volunteers from the surrounding neighborhood. From 60 m2 it was continually extended over the years and spans now more than 145 m2 situated on the eastern flank of the park. Currently there are up to 20-30 people regularly tending the garden and/or taking part in the multitude of activities offered within the frame of the Cabaña’s educational programs. Daniel teaches the art of holistic gardening, with a strong focus of inclusion, ecological education and self empowerment. All materials come from recycling and/or left-overs from other building activities in the Retiro: Boards, stones, sand and soil. The garden paths between the plots are wide enough to be accessible for people in wheelchairs, there are spaces for communication (“The lover’s meeting point”), meditation (a geodetic dome) and teaching (inside the actual house). A path leads up the terraces to a scenic lookout over the garden grounds.

The Cabaña belongs, like all other gardens I have been to, to the Red de los Huertos Communitarios, the Madrid network of urban gardens. The „Aula Ambiental“, the place’s „ecological classroom“ forms the offers courses and workshops on plant care and environmental awareness for children and adults alike. In addition, there are periodical invitations to conferences and excursions to natural spaces and environmental facilities.

Entrance of Cabaña

Still life in Cabaña

Still life in Cabaña (educational)

Still life in Cabaña (educational)

Where you can learn

While we walk on the paths I notice that there are more „ornamental flowers“ present than formerly encountered in other urban gardens. „No, we don’t ban flowers from our garden“, says Daniel. The practical and the beautiful both serve the environment, be it animals or humans.“ While he picks some salad for the market I take my documentary pics. It is almost 3 in the afternoon on our arrival at the market of the „El Huerto del Retiro“, a more „classical“ urban garden by way of its organization and horticultural lay-out (plus the biggest insect hotel i have ever seen). Alas, the market stalls are almost deserted by now (Spanish people don’t like the rain)! There is craft beer, organic cheese and honey. There is or was still more, yet i admit, I was very hungry by that time and needed a meal more than anything else…

View from having a craft beer

XXXL insect hotel

On our way to this huerto we passed some bellis growing next to some daisies in the grass. Those seeds got carried over the fence from the community garden, says Daniel. Later I look at the Madrid map of urban gardens: Somehow, I find, there is a resemblance…

Daisies and bellis


Urban gardens in Madrid


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22. March 2018
Very well… we started to prepare the „domo“ around 6 the evening before. The place was swarming with young parents and their toddlers, some gardeners, idle youngsters… Eva brings a big green box that contains her herbarium. We swept the gravel off the floor, wiped the table, found some chairs (one in the trash close to the entrance) and stuck a handful of remaining posters to the walls of the neighborhood. We passed a blue-eyed dog in a duffle coat (Madrid dogs often wear coats as long as the temperatures are still below 15 degrees:) and went for a beer.



Radio Gardening in Madrid

23. March 2018. Meeting at 9:15 at the entrance of Esta es Una Plaza; Caroline of Radio Hortelana had already opened the gate. Setting-up: All went well – thanks to ingenious Jesús of Medialab who had already made some tests the day before. Just like with Datscha Radio 17, we use the „Butt“-app for streaming and transmit via Udo Noll’s aporee streaming server.
The Plaza’s cat makes its appearance.
10:20 Eva, Kata and Joaquín arrive. Plants, sensors and watering cans are arranged next to the high bed of homeless cacti.
Maite takes pictures for the In-Sonora docu. Carolina has brought coffee, her Kalimba and a guitar.
11:50 Alberto of Esta es Una Plaza turns up. We are all happy and exited.

1st – 3rd hour

12:00 Here we go! Hola! Datscha Radio a tope!
After the introductions Carolina plays her kalimba to the sounds of gushing rain: An anti-rain spell that we hope will protect us from worse. Because rain for Madrid people is the most welcome excuse to stay at home! Apart from that, our electricity is provided from a solar battery – we are indeed a very ecological radio station!

13:00 Our program flows smoothly! A roughly by the hour organized schedule serves for orientation, all artists are bilingual, so we manage quite well with the translations.

Below you’ll find (later!!!!) an updated version of the program plan – the audio files will be shared on mix cloud asap (but not before 3rd of April). For now, let us look at some of the radio events of the day. Have fun!

14:15 Rain has finally come. Kata and Joaquín perform an astonishing set with plant radio music, sensors transforming the moisture levels of different plant pots and the green’s voltage into a soundscape with harmonica.

The cat loves it so much, it goes to sit on the roof just above our heads. A talk about listening and the rain.

Power cut!

Unfortunately the solar energy runs out…For some minutes we still broadcast on batteries but then we decide to interrupt our program.


14:45 Datscha Radio is back again on the air waves! One of the gardeners provided a connection from his neighboring house to the studio! The rain has stopped, the cat gets back in.

4rd – 6th hour…

We continue with the theme of plant talks: Eva Kurly presents her herbarium and introduced the African all-edible Moringa tree. Carolina plays and sings a poem from Argentinia. Santiago, who was working outside comes in an explains what they are presently building. Alberto has prepared two interviews about plant names and balcony plants with his parents. A delightful conversation, each one made over the telephone, the crackling interference in their voices making us forget the digital age.

17:00 A storm of theatre people blows into our tent: They are scheduled for a show in a venue nearby but somehow found this garden. Despite being in a hurry they improvise a vocal piece for us:) Listening to an interview from India about the Botanic Sanctuary in Gurukula and the preservation of vegetal microclimates. Appearance of Rafa from the artist organization The Hug. He brings music of Lau Mau, a Finnish singer whose work is closely connected to nature themes.

17:50 We still have unplayed recordings, yet it’s time for a resume of the broadcast material. Maite comes back and reintroduces the work of In-Sonora and talks about the festival planned for the next day.
18:00 The official end is postponed by half an hour because of the program interruption. We listen to Miyuki Jokiranta’s vocal encounters with her houseplants and finally to two excerpts of the „Atomic Garden“ by Alberto.
18:30 A gathering around the microphones, Thank you, dear listeners! Datscha Radio a tope!!!


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21st March 2018

The air was fresh but the sun was shining and the lawns lit up in dreams in pink, white and black: For once in these times of preparing for the radio at the “Plaza” I did what is a tradition among the Madrid people! I went to the Parque La Quinta de los Molinos to wander among the budding and blooming almond trees. I had myself photographed under a tree (like everybody) and I took selfies (like everybody). Wonderful!

Get these pictures:) (Some other info about the park and its trees will follow)






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Design: Alberto Garcia

Esta es Datscha Radio Madrid! Estaremos emitiendo el 23 de marzo de las 12 del mediodía a las 6 de la tarde, en directo desde el jardín urbano en la Calle Doctor Fourquet.

Datscha Radio es una radio efímera, aquí y ahora! Todo el mundo está invitado a venir, compartir y participar. Te esperamos!

Escucharás sonidos de los jardines de Madrid, conversaciones sobre arte, plantas y horticultura, conciertos en directo e improvisaciones. Datscha Radio Madrid está colaborando con Esta es una Plaza, MediaLab Prado, Aporee.org y Radio Hortelana, en el marco de la décima edición de In Sonora.

Vamos a retransmitir en streaming, desde datscharadio.de, y en la frecuencia 107.3 FM. Tráete la radio! Ven con tus historias de jardín! Ven a la Datscha! Datscha a tope!!

      1. DR18 - Datscha Radio


Esta es Datscha Radio Madrid! We will broadcast on the 23rd of March from 12-6pm directly from the urban garden in the Calle Doctor Fourquet.

Datscha Radio is a temporary radio station and invites you to come, share and participate.

You’ll hear the sounds of Madrid gardens, talks about art and horticulture, live concerts and improvisations. Datscha Radio Madrid happens in cooperation with: Esta es una Plaza, MediaLab Prado, aporee and Radio Hortelana.

We’ll transmit on stream on datscharadio.de, and on location on 107.3 fm. Bring your radio! Bring your garden stories! Go Datscha! Datscha a tope!





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(Übersetzung folgt) Another quick diary of these days in the wonderland of Datscha Radio preparations. You’ll find an introduction of the (steadily growing) team here.

12. March

9:00 Coffee & mails. Agreement to meet Señora Bellet of the Botanic Garden to talk about its history and activities.

10:45 Printing out flyers and posters for the „Adopta-una-Planta“ event.

Flyer für diesen Samstag, 17. März

12:45 Leaving the building I run into kta and Joaquien who are on their way to one of the labs to set up a plant&soil sensory system.

13:00 A cat guards the security entrance of the garden. I gain admittance… a consistent minor problem: The guard needs my social security number to fill in the admittance form. The usual solution: present my visa card. By now the guards know me quite well, while the sequence of my multiple visits and mailings has made me think of the Botanic Garden offices as a kafkaesque „castle“.

On entering the offices i notice that the amanita has changed place.


Señora Maria Pellet receives me in her office. She’s very friendly and even speaks German. But we agree to do the interview in English. Afterward we go to the Bonsai section and take a pic.

13:15 Catching up with kta and Joaquim. A soft frequency hum permeates the air, there are plants, an arduino, micro sensors measuring the moisture in the pots, a dead deco cabbage plant, a very healthy looking aloe and a pot of the „bad mother plant“. We agree that „Grünlilie“ (German common name) is a nice word for it. Interview.

16:30 Editing the interview (too big to upload here, you’ll find it soon in the archive)

17:30 Meeting Jesús in the offices to discuss how to program an info video onto the wall of the Medialab. He’s just taking his exams… parallel to all the work with Medialab and Datscha Radio!

18:00 Datscha Radio artist’s meeting at the cantina. Romi Casile has finally arrived from Argentina. Although she has to leave already on the 16th, she likes to participate. Apart from working with sound objects, her grandmother knows how to sing songs about flowers and gardens. This is interesting!

18:45 The beer is a bit too expensive for a longer stay so we move upstairs to my „living room“. Maite, coordinator of IN-SONORA comes. Alberto and kta work on the translation of the jingle text into Spanish while I do a quick talk with Romi in my room.

19:15 We have a lot of fun speaking the jingle text. The artists and Maite talk me into recording it in Spanish. They say it sounds charming (but maybe it is just funny?)

We have an exchange about listening practices, art and society, the role of artists, money issues in artist lives and again about the importance of listening.
The most inspiring evening closes with a sip of duty free whiskey.

Rough editing of the recordings. Playing with some acoustic sketches :)

23:30 Relaxing with another rose plant website…

13. March

10:00 (!) Meeting up with Alberto as a translator to visit the „House of Honey“ in the Atocha street. Interview. Pedro warms up to our questions and in the end we get shown even the store rooms, the honey „mixing machine“ (of course it is not mixed but pure), and finally, as the talk turns to plants, the flowers and trees, Pedro himself rescues from offshoots or leaves falling „from the sky“ —

More of this in the next blog entry…

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Datscha Radio Madrid it will sprout an off-shoot at the garden of „Esta Es Una Plaza“ on the 23rd of March. We will broadcast on stream and on-site via micro transmitter on 103.7FM.
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Liebe FreundInnen des Radio- und (spanischen!) Gärtnerns,

Hier kommt eine Einladung zum Open Call für meine anstehende Künstlerinnen-Residenz am Media Lab Prado in Madrid, beginnend im späten Februar. Dies gerne teilen oder weiterschicken und/oder selbstverständlich auch teilnehmen!

Mehr Info dazu hier: Convocatoria colaboración Datscha-Radio

Für alle diejenigen (ich eingeschlossen) die davon träumen (oder es tatsächlich tun) Spanisch zu lernen: Das Team von In-Sonora hat eine feine Untertitelung unseres Datscha Radio 17 Fernsehbeitrags kreiert…  :)
Derweil: Wir sind dabei, die Webseite neu zu strukturieren. Die Arbeit am Audioarchiv geht froh vonstatten, wir sortieren Blogeinträge und freuen uns darauf, auch noch die eine oder andere Bildergalerie anzufügen. Doch alles Gärtnern braucht seine eigene Zeit in Raum und Jahr, wir sind dabei…

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