Put on a flower crown and celebrate your garden

This Sunday, people across the country will enjoy the fruits of their labour in the garden

South Africans across the country will celebrate their green spaces and gardens on Garden Day, Sunday October 11.

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 event is calling on plant lovers to put on a flower crown, down tools, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

To inspire South Africans to celebrate all things green, Garden Day will host a number of virtual events in the run up to Sunday October 11, including flower crown making workshops.

On the day, the movement will host its first virtual Garden Day gathering with a host of events, including a Q&A session with garden guru Tanya Visser, a celebrity flower crown-off with actor and comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout and radio and television presenter Zoë Brown, and garden-inspired cooking via Zoom and Facebook Live.

City centre resident Lynelle Kenned has become an ambassador for Garden Day this year.

’’It’s very special to be an ambassador for the Garden Day campaign. As a child, I remember my grandparents and parents taking great pride in their gardens, and some of my favourite holiday memories are of road trips to the picturesque Garden Route.’’

Lynelle grew up in Paarl, and to this day, she says, she has a secret love affair with the vineyards, orchards and mountains of the Boland area.

She says her dad and grandparents were avid gardeners, and their lawns and flower beds were a source of pride and joy.

’’One of my fondest memories is of my great gran making fig preserve from the tree in her back yard.’’

The freelance singer and performer travels alot, so having a garden wasn’t possible until the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and everyone had to stay at home.

’’Travelling made it difficult to keep pets or plants that need consistent love and nourishment. The pandemic, of course, offered me the chance to grow roots, as it were.’’

This year, she and her partner moved to an apartment in the city, where says the views of the mountains from the balcony and bedroom are the highlight of the space.

However, because they were on the second floor, a lawn garden wasn’t possible, but she had collected an array of house plants, ferns, succulents.

’’I think the isolation and anxiety from the pandemic awakened an urge to nurture within me – self care through the practice of gardening. It is part knowledge, part intuition. I found myself developing curiosity, patience, discipline and mindfulness through spending time tending to our plants.

’’My sanity and my joy during these shifting times has been to finally create and nurture my own family of plants, nestled safely on the balcony of my flat.’’

She and her partner spent time potting and repotting the plants, and moved them around daily to get sun.

’’In four months, we’ve lost only one, which I consider a great success,’’ jokes Lynelle.

Her collection of plants includes Ficus, Delicious Monster, Spekboom, Malva, Philodendron, Lemon Bush, Aloe Vera, String of hearts, Jade plant, and many succulents.

She said the choice of plants comes down to maintenance and robustness – which need a lot of light, and which can withstand the elements on the balcony.

They will also be starting a herb garden in a vertical greenhouse on the stoep, and this will be the first time they will start with seeds.

While Lynelle doesn’t belong to any gardening support groups, she says social media and the internet had been helpful, and coincidently, her friends have also been gardening, and visits became a space to share tips and tricks.

For those wanting to start a garden, she advises they don’t become intimidated and overwhelmed by the daunting prospect. ’’Start small and simple, do research, get curious, and as your confidence grows, you’ll find yourself expanding your gardening naturally. It’s fun and creative and oh so rewarding.’’

For Garden Day on Sunday, Lynelle and her partner will be hosting a special plant listening party, and each guest will arrive with one of their own houseplants to be a part of the gathering, while enjoying canapés and wine.

Afterwards, each guest will draw a Goddess Oracle card as inspiration for the future.

’’The plants have now been recharged and infused with good energy, ready to return home with their owners.

’’The intention is to honour Mother Nature through a celebration of conscious gratitude.’’

Visit Gardenday.co.za/GetInvolved for a handy toolkit to help you plan a virtual gathering.

Catch news, updates, and inspiration at @GardenDaySA on Candide, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.