The Rise of the #PlantParent

2019-10-15 06:00
Johan Coetzer in his garden. The committed 11-year-old hones his hobby by watching gardening programmes on TV.:

Johan Coetzer in his garden. The committed 11-year-old hones his hobby by watching gardening programmes on TV.:

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Forget yoga, time-poor under-35s are looking to gardens to de-stress, reveals new research.

There was a time when young adults were afraid to put down roots. Now, it seems, that’s all they want to do. Roots. And stems. And flowers. And plants, soil, bulbs, veggies, vines and mulch.

That’s what should be encouraged on Garden Day, now in its fourth year and taking place on Sunday 20 of October: the opportunity to celebrate the greener things in life. Because there’s no such thing as too much mulch.

Millennials have taken on what is traditionally seen as a fairly laid back activity.

New research released in the United Kingdom reveals that millennials aged 35 and under are more passionate about gardens than their older counterparts, but have less time to enjoy their benefits.

“Plants create a space in which you never feel alone because you have so many living things around you,” Corrie Gunter explains. “We live in a time when everything has to happen so fast. It’s just go, go, go. Through gardening, you learn to be patient, to take your time.”

Meanwhile, in Gauteng, in between raising a son and running a specialised creative industry project management business, 35-year-old Shruthi Nair makes space for some me-time gardening.

Up and about at 04:00 most mornings, she makes her son’s school lunch and a cup of coffee for herself. Then it’s gardening time as she waters and tends to her indoor plants before starting her workday.

“All people have agrarian roots and then, over time, we start losing touch with the soil, but with all the threats to our natural resources in this era it’s wonderful to see how more and more people are gardening and realising that even a small patch or balcony space can generate produce for the family.”

And you’re never too young to start. A few years ago, Johan Coetzer, now aged 11, gave each friend who attended his birthday party a few plants, a container and some soil and fertiliser, together with instructions on how to start their own little garden.

His dad, Francois, says he and his wife, Juliana, have never had any particular interest in gardening at their home in Welgemoed, and are, therefore, at a loss to explain what has kindled Johan’s passion for gardening as well as his enthusiasm for instilling in others a love for growing things.

The 11-year-old is also a committed vegetable and herb grower and often hones his hobby by watching gardening programmes on TV and dipping into some gardening books he has collected. He has developed a particular interest in succulents which he cultivates in pots and often transplants into bigger containers as they grow. He keeps the plants on the stoep, but takes care to put them out in the sun from time to time.

Gardens give people a sense of purpose. Poppy Jamie, a wellbeing entrepreneur, believes that it’s a return to the source, of sorts. “Anxiety and stress are becoming increasingly prevalent issues,” she explains. “This means that there’s never been a more urgent need for activities that take us away from technology and nurture community.”

Garden Day is for everyone: beginner gardeners, patio potters, rose growers and wild weeders. It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a group of gardeners growing and harvesting home crops, or a Kardashian whose perfectly pristine, rolling lawn is sure to make everyone else turn green, now it’s time to hang up your gloves and allow yourself the time to appreciate your garden. Even plant parents need a break.

Garden Day was proudly created by Candide, a gardening app that connects gardeners with fellow plant lovers, public gardens and plant nurseries, to kick-start a movement to unite all South Africans.

V Taking part in Garden Day couldn’t be easier: visit www.gardenday.co.za to download a toolkit with hints, tips and how-to videos, all aimed at helping you create the perfect celebration.

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