Down tools this Garden Day for good health

Pniel resident Rowland Williams - aka the Dahlia King of Pniel - suffered ill-health, until he read an article about the health benefits of gardening, and hes never looked back since.

From flower gardens, to greenhouses, water-wise patio planters and community gardens where cabbages and cauliflowers are king, South Africans from all walks of life are invited to celebrate their gardens no matter what size, shape or form on Garden Day, on Sunday October 15.

Recent research into gardening habits has revealed that people lack opportunities to spend time relaxing in their gardens and want more time to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

That’s why Garden Day will be celebrated with a simple ambition in mind: to encourage people to down tools and spend some quality time with neighbours, family and friends celebrating their gardens

According to a study, people traditionally spend much more time – 20 percent – gardening than they do relaxing in their gardens.

Some even spend the equivalent of a month each year planting, weeding and watering.

It’s no surprise then that over two thirds – 70 percent – wish they could give more time to relaxing in their gardens.

“Garden Day is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the space that we have created with our blood, sweat and tears,” says The Gardener television presenter and magazine editor Tanya Visser.

“Enjoy time in your garden with friends and family, and simply chill: pull out a blanket, have a braai, or take the celebration to a new level with snacks and champagne.

“My celebrations will involve my fur kids, a blanket on the lawn, the sizzle of the braai, all in the tranquility of my own garden. I can’t wait.”

The study also uncovered that participants feel happiest in their gardens, more so than going out or watching television.

And a significant nine in ten participants – 88 percent – reported health and wellbeing benefits from spending time outdoors in their gardens.

“In our 21st century of absolute convenience and consumerism, we have become disconnected from nature -especially living in cities,” gardening author Jane Griffiths.

“My organic vegetable garden is not only my oasis and sanctuary, it provides us with healthy organic vegetables and herbs. I encourage everyone to put down their phones and switch off the TV and go outside – into your garden or a friend’s garden and enjoy reconnecting with nature this Garden Day,” says Jane.

There’s no denying it, throughout the year an enormous amount of effort goes into keeping and maintaining our gardens.

Garden Day is a chance for South Africans to down tools, enjoy the diverse pleasures of their gardens and acknowledge the hard work that goes into keeping them special.

What you do in your garden on Garden Day is completely up to you. But it’s a great opportunity to get together with friends and family so that as many people as possible can celebrate together, here are some ideas of what you can do

Use fresh flowers and greenery from your garden to make flower crowns for everyone.

Invite friends for a bring-’* -braai, use herbs from the garden to flavour their meat.

Invite neighbours and friends round for rooibos tea en beskuit.

Have a garden scavenger hunt.

Instead of a book club, have a plant club. Ask guests to bring a rare or interesting plant to swop with one of the other guests.

Enjoy dinner outside in the garden with each dish featuring a home-grown ingredient.

If you don’t have your own garden, visit someone who does and enjoy it with them. –

The research was carried out with 700 participants in April, all of whom have a garden.

See pages 4 and 10