Inspirational flower crown ambassadors, a packed calendar of virtual events, and DIY tips for a garden celebration are set to connect plant lovers across South Africa as Garden Day marks the beginning of Spring for the most meaningful Garden Day yet.
On Sunday 11 October, South Africans across the country will celebrate their unique green spaces and gardens in every shape and size. Created by gardening app Candide, Garden Day is a growing movement uniting people in their love for plants and flowers since 2016. From keepers of rolling lawns, community gardens, and vegetable patches to potted window sills, patio planters, and urban rooftops, the annual celebration is calling on plant lovers to put on a flower crown, down tools, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
This year, Garden Day is especially poignant. Over the past few months, South Africans have turned to their green spaces to find solace and balance. Gardening has been proven to boost both mental and physical well-being and create a sense of belonging and connection. With spring in the air, it offers a chance to pause, reflect, and celebrate a season of new beginnings. From enjoying an outdoor picnic with your family to sharing your green haven with friends online, Garden Day is about taking a moment to celebrate the greenery that brings you joy.
The Happiness Effect of Gardens
According to a recent survey by Candide, 96% of people said they felt happier when spending downtime in their gardens. The findings revealed the most popular garden activities are spending time in a favourite spot admiring plants, listening to birdsong and watching the wildlife, breathing in the fresh air and garden scents, enjoying a cuppa and a chat, taking me time with a quiet bite to eat, playing with the children, reading a book, or lazing on the grass.
“It’s been proven that if you surround yourself with plants and flowers, you’re likely to be happier. I can attest to that,” says Wolseley-based flower farmer Adene Nieuwoudt. “My flowers keep me energised and enthusiastic. Garden Day is the ideal celebration to express this sentiment.”
“There’s an unhurried creativity that comes with gardening,” adds award-winning interior designer Donald Nxumalo. “Typically, I’m racing against the clock, but on my balcony I can let the process evolve slowly. This balances and invigorates me. It inspires my design work.”
Nieuwoudt and Nxumalo are among the 2020 Garden Day ambassadors that will put on a flower crown and lead this year’s celebrations. They are joined by some of South Africa’s favourite flower and plant enthusiasts including landscape designer Joy Phala, Babylonstoren’s floral designer Constance Stuurman and master gardener Gundula Deutschlander, Chef Nti actor, writer and producer Donnalee Roberts, opera singer and television presenter Lynelle Kenned, and visual artist Alice Toich.
Join the movement
To inspire South Africans to celebrate all things green, Garden Day will host a number of virtual events in the run up to Sunday 11 October including flower crown making workshops, so that you can make your own flower crown, the ultimate Garden Day accessory. On the day the movement will host its first Virtual Garden Day Gathering with a host of events, including yoga sessions, garden-inspired gourmet cooking and more via Zoom and Facebook Live. The final programme and details will be released on Gardenday.co.za/Events at the start of October.
Visit Gardenday.co.za/GetInvolved for a handy toolkit to help you plan the perfect virtual celebration, including recipe ideas, downloadable invitations for your virtual 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. Tag your posts with @GardenDaySA and #GardenDaySA to share your green celebration with friends, family, and fellow plant lovers online.
This month, Life is a Garden is taking part in the important global conversation about the need for urgent bee conservation. Like you, we are gardeners on a mission! And this month our mission is to #PolliNationSA and gather all the green fingers we can to join us in creating nation-wide, bee-friendly backyards. Here’s how you can help our crop crusaders by planting their faves, making small adjustments to your current garden, and even building homes for these hard workers.
Let’s speak bee
We are inviting gardeners to awaken their inner eco-warrior and consider the bee as an essential service to mankind! The balance of Mother Nature and Her creatures are in a delicate little dance with humanity, with the bees playing an ever-important role in sustaining the following:
Planting for bees
Welcoming honey-makers into your garden is easier than you may think. Once you know how to cater for bees, planning your next flower pot or gardening project becomes super easy. Similarly, a few simple additions to your current garden could make all the difference. Here’s what you can plant for bees:
Buzzing advice: Bees love most flowers but they are especially fond of blue and purple buds. Read more about bringing blue hues into your garden here: http://bit.ly/2TUs1N4
The bee’s knees
If your garden is all planted up, not to worry, you can still be the bee’s knees by boasting your pro-pollination garden. Become a bee-warrior, make your mark, and do your bit for the bees by including the following into your garden:
Buzzing advice: Your local GCA Garden Centre has a full range of products for all your bee gardening needs – from spades and rakes to soil and seeds!
Roses are a bee’s best friend
Roses, specifically those with more open blooms, are available in almost every colour imaginable! Roses invite bees with a great variation of scents, flowering for most of the year, and ranging from miniature, bushes and shrub roses, to enormous gorgeous climbers.
How to home bees
Out of all the bee species, the solitary bee is probably the most family-friendly as they pollinate flowers and they don’t sting. These guys are different from honeybees although they look very similar. You can home the solitary bee by building your very own bee hotel. Now that’s a sure win for team-bee! We’ve got step by step instructions for you here: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/family-fun-in-the-garden-make-a-bee-hotel/
You may also wish to home some honeybees in an organic hollowed out tree stump. We love this idea as the wood is close to home for the little guys. There are several ways you can go about setting up a natural beehive at home, as well as many DIY ways you could build one. Google is your friend, dear gardeners, and your local GCA will help you bring your idea to life!
Join us, gardeners of all sorts, and lets #PolliNationSA loaded with green thumbs and hearts that beat and buzz for the bees. Let’s get planting, building, and using our resources to make every day a bee-conscious occasion and every backyard a bee-friendly safe-haven. WE can make a difference, and the difference lies in what we can make together. Life is a Garden, how will you sustain yours?