While the past year may have brought many challenges, there has certainly been a lot of good too as conscious living and connecting with nature has come to the fore. An area that has seen enormous growth around the world is that of gardening, as people have spent more time at home, rediscovering joy in their green spaces. This gives us the perfect reason to wear a flower crown and make Garden Day, which takes place on Sunday 17th October, a wonderful, celebratory affair this year.
Reports have shown that over the past year, nearly three million people took up gardening and that online plant sales have soared*. According to Candide, the popular gardening app that unites plant parents and garden enthusiasts across the country, South Africa saw a 50% average increase in members during this time compared to the same period the previous year. What really makes us smile is that everyone – young and old – is embracing plant culture and creating their own green sanctuaries.
Now in its sixth year, Garden Day, created by Candide, is a chance for people across the country to celebrate their gardens and take stock of the therapeutic effects that our leafy spaces have on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Whether you have a green filled ‘’hoffice’’, a sprouting veggie patch, an Instagram-ready indoor jungle or simplya kitchen windowsill of potted herbs- the aim is to indulge in and share the joy that your green space brings you and acknowledge the positive effect your blossoming flower bed or fragrant herb garden has on you.
There are many amazing ideas already circulating as Garden Day enthusiasts reveal how they are planning to celebrate Garden Day and pay homage to their green spaces.
For renowned chef and home gardener Mogau Seshoene aka The Lazy Makoti, it’s all about sharing the day. “I’ll be pulling out all the stops for a family celebration. We’ll be wearing home-made flower crowns and I will prepare a herb rainbow couscous salad, using fresh ingredients from the garden for everyone to enjoy as we toast this special day.”
The symbol for Garden Day is a flower crown and Mogau is among the 2021 Garden Day ambassadors that will be wearing one and leading this year’s celebrations. She is joined by some of South Africa’s favourite flower and plant enthusiasts including Babylonstoren’s floral designer Constance Stuurman and master gardener Gundula Deutschlander, international award-winning floral designer Mabel M, international master of ceremonies, speaker and entrepreneur Jo-Ann Strauss and actress and flower enthusiast Rolanda Marais.
“For me it’s a day to ignore my tools and look beyond the weeds, and simply be in the moment and take pleasure in the beauty of my garden,” says Gundula. “I love the idea of sharing my green space with others. I am also excited to see how creative everyone will be on Garden Day as gardening has boomed among younger generations, with more and more actively engaging with Mother Nature.”
The green effect
Constance plans to use her role as an ambassador to raise awareness of the long-term benefits of gardening. “It’s widely accepted that nature can help focus the mind and that green spaces have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, but did you know that a global study of five places where residents are famed for their longevity found some interesting commonalities when it came to the centenarians who live there? In addition to daily exercise and plant-based diets, they all gardened, happily and healthily, well into their 80s, 90s and beyond.” Now that’s gardening for life.
There are many ways in which you can enjoy Garden Day. Set a stylish table. Use teapots, antique books and plenty of gorgeous, fresh flowers from the garden for a stunning tea party tablescape. Or a simple picnic on the lawn will bring you into direct contact with the earth and that little bit of sunshine will go a long way in your body. You can create an Insta-worthy floral headpiece, or like Mogau, head to the kitchen to add home-grown herbs to a delicious salad, decorate a cake with petals or concoct a botanical cocktail.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to enjoy the moment, immerse yourself in the restorative power of nature and share the joy. We’ve never needed our green spaces more.
Join the movement!
If you need some bright ideas for the big day, www.gardenday.co.za has a handy toolkit to help you plan the perfect celebration, including recipe ideas, downloadable invitations for your celebration and things to do and make with children in the garden. Catch news, updates and inspiration at @GardenDaySA on Candide, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
Sharing your garden’s goodness is key, whether it’s making a day of it with your immediate family or sharing with your extended green team via social media. Tag your posts with @GardenDaySA and #GardenDaySA to share your green celebration with friends, family, and fellow plant lovers online.
Pictured top: Garden Day Flower Crown Ambassadors – Constance Stuurman, Jo Ann Strauss and Rolanda Marais.