Dig in for South Africa’s biggest garden party!
Everyone is invited to take part in South Africa’s biggest garden party on Sunday, 15 October 2023 to celebrate Garden Day. Now in its eighth year, the Garden Day movement calls on people to kick back and enjoy the fruits of their labour with family and friends — in their own garden or green space – and give a little toast to mother nature while they’re at it for all the goodness she delivers all year round.
Notable supporters of Garden Day since its inception in 2016 have included the likes of media personality Suzelle DIY, a host of South Africa’s most well known chefs including celebrity chef and TV presenter Siba Mtongana, bestselling chef and social media sensation Mogau Seshoene aka the Lazy Makoti, interior designer and television personality, Donald Nxumalo., singer and motivational speaker Jo Black, chef and food authorKaren Dudley and entrepreneurJo-Ann Strauss, all of whom espouse the benefits of gardening and cultivate green spaces in their own lives.
This year, new friends of Garden Day include celebrity chef Zola Nene, comedian and Smile FM DJ Angel Campey, TV presenter Marciel Hopkins, award-winning botanist Rupert Koopman, private chef and TopChef SA finalist Ayabonga Gope, tech analyst and long-distance runner Fatima Mabulu and notable event planners Hannes Maritz and his wife Tina.
“It is important to know that Garden Day is for everyone — of all ages and walks of life. Whether you have a veritable orchard outside or various pot plants on your stoep, Garden Day is for you: owning even one plant officially makes you a gardener,” says Camphey.. “The day is a chance to take a break and appreciate the gifts that our gardens provide. And the way you party in your garden or green space is entirely up to you — it could be anything from a picnic on the lawn to drinks in the veggie patch, a classic braai, a high tea or even just a gentle cuppa. The only request is that you down tools and don a flower crown — the symbol of Garden Day,” adds Nene.
For Nene, the garden is a place where she can slow down and find balance in her busy days. “Gardening is definitely a form of self love,” she says. “I take my time when planting or watering. It’s a peaceful and quiet time with my thoughts.” On Garden Day, Chef Nene will be having a braai with her loved ones, watching her nieces and nephews playing outside.
Hannes Maritz and his wife Tina will also be in the garden on Sunday, 15 October picking fresh herbs and veggies for a picnic with their children. “Gardening has enriched our family life, as it really helps to show our kids devotion and how to care for something and watch it grow,” says Maritz. “It teaches patience and respect for nature. We can see how our kids value the produce more if it comes from our garden.”
For those planning a picnic of their own this Garden Day, Marciel Hopkins offers five tips for a party to remember.
1. Prepare your picnic spot
In the run-up to Garden Day, cut the grass, water the plants and create a shaded area with a colourful umbrella so that you’ll be protected from the sun, if it’s too warm — plus it looks festive! You can also hang up some garden party decorations — bunting and string lights add a nice aesthetic, along with atmospheric lighting for when the sun goes down.
2. Stock up on blankets and pillows
Blankets and pillows for picnics are essential. Choose blankets with a waterproof underside and add lots of pillows to improve your picnic game. It’s a good idea to bring a couple of extra blankets in case someone gets cold.
3. Pick your picnic basket
There is no picnic without a hamper basket, but you don’t have to stick to the traditional wicker. Get creative and step out of the traditional. Think brightly coloured plastic crates or cardboard boxes. You can make them pretty by tying a ribbon around them. Before your picnic, double-check that all of your containers are securely closed.
4. Plan the food
Sandwiches are a good go-to option, but you can make your picnic cuisine even more interesting by using different components than your standard packed lunch. Scoop out a watermelon to create an impromptu bowl, and fill it with a mouthwatering salad made with couscous, pasta, or potatoes.
Biltong and droewors are easy-to-pack snacks. Without requiring much preparation, bread and other deli selections like creamy cheeses and cherry tomatoes make the meal an occasion. Create your own cordial with homegrown lemons, oranges or granadillas! Don’t forget to include some sweet goodies as well — small cheesecakes and ice cream on a cone are a personal favourite.
5. Don’t forget to have fun!
Perfect picnics and garden parties are all about spending time with our friends and family. If your garden is big enough, set out some games. We suggest a DIY giant outdoor scrabble or sack race. For those with a balcony garden or patio, you can enjoy board games or host a plant swop! But before any of these activities start, make sure you’ve popped on your flower crown and made a toast to your green space and the goodness it gives you all year round.
Find all the Garden Day news, updates and inspiration at @GardenDaySA – share your Garden Day moments with the Garden Dayteam via their dedicated Garden Day WhatsApp line on +27 71 206 1749.
Visit our website, gardenday.co.za, for more ways to celebrate on 15 October. It’s also chock-full of information about the health benefits of gardening, and tips for supporting both your own and community garden projects.