Garden Day with a difference

Artist Alice Angela Toich from Mowbray was one of the flower crown ambassadors for the official Garden Day movement this year.
Artist Alice Angela Toich from Mowbray was one of the flower crown ambassadors for the official Garden Day movement this year.

Garden Day 2020 was very different for most.

With forced separation or limited allowance of guests, the event, aimed at promoting reconnecting with nature and growing gardens, turned to virtual platforms this year.

Celebrated on Sunday 11 October, the event was established in 2016.

While encouraging locals to celebrate in their own way, organisers also hosted a string of virtual events on the day and leading up to the day.

The events included 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, garden-inspired gourmet cooking and more via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Alice Angela Toich from Mowbray was one of the flower crown ambassadors.

“My dream is to grow vegetables and herbs that I can use in my cooking, a variety of flowering plants that I can cut, arrange inside the house and paint, and use our garden as a source of inspiration and renewal,” says the artist.

A free gardening app, Candide, has also assisted locals in growing and maintaining their gardens.

“We are often accused of being impatient, not understanding the way the world works and having it too easy with the internet,” says Toich.

“Many of us will probably end up having to learn later in life some hard lessons about what is involved in creating a meaningful life. Gardening can get you away from your phone and teach us many of those things, such as patience, care and an appreciation of our environment.”

Another local, Brenda Wilson from Surrey Estate, says she was not aware that this was an organised movement, but rather a social movement that she heard about from friends.

“I wore a store-bought flower crown to be part of the events, but do not have a garden of my own yet. I have recently started planting a few flower and herb seedlings and hope to formally participate next year, if my garden is big enough,” she says. “Gardening is a skill we have lost in modern society. We grew up with trees and vegetables. These days kids are not interested in nature. They want technology.”

Zita Chee Mee of Colorado Park says she has been participating for the past four years.

“I am hosting Garden Day since 2017. I missed the first year in 2016 because I was on vacation overseas then,” she says.

Chee Mee has a large garden in her back yard and grows everything from flowers to herbs and medicinal plants.

“Gardening is relaxing for me because I can be creative, use all my senses and relax in the sun or shade. There is no limit to the amount of activities that can be done in the garden. It’s great to live in harmony with all the insects, birds, etc,” says Chee Mee.

“During lockdown I was not bored because I could occupy myself with tasks and experience that inner peace when I meditate there. I usually invite fellow or aspirant gardeners over for a day of fun (to commemorate Garden Day). It is the first year that we were blessed with such beautiful weather and no wind. We even did a garden Jerusalema dance, so I can say that it was my best Garden Day celebration by far.”

  •  For more information on Garden Day, visit gardenday.co.za or follow them on social media.

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