Dig in this Garden Day

Blouberg resident and television and radio presenter Zoë Brown is flower crown ambassador. She encourages people to enjoy their gardens this Garden Day.

Garden Day, on Sunday October 20, is a chance for everyone to sit back and smell the roses.

TV presenter Zoë Brown, who lives in Blouberg, is among those who will be celebrating their gardens on Garden Day.

“I find gardening refreshing and relaxing. It’s the various textures, colours and fragrances that always sparks moments of nostalgia for me,” says Zoë.

Growing up with parents who were avid gardeners, Zoë spent a lot of time in the garden especially with her father.

“I personally feel like we had the most beautiful garden in our street,” she says.

Her latest project is growing her own herb garden at home.

“My mom has a special touch when it comes to a herb garden. And since I’m learning how to cook, I’ve been calling her non-stop for advice. I struggle to keep my plants alive.

“I did not inherit my parents’ green fingers.

“The ones that I do manage to grow and keep alive are my lavender bushes, mint leaves which are great for cocktails, and basil leaves which are excellent for cooking.”

Zoë will be spending Garden Day morning enjoying a girls’ brunch with friends “complete with flower crowns and bubbles”.

But spending time outside, pulling up weeds and tending to prize plants isn’t just good for your garden, it’s also good for you, according Stellenbosch University plant scientist Professor Nox Makunga.

“Next time you are feeling under the weather, down in the dumps or stressed out, don’t reach for a packet of pills – grab your garden fork instead,”he says.

“There are dozens of studies globally that have looked into how gardening affects your health and there’s only one conclusion: gardening is incredibly good for you.”

In fact, gardening is considered so beneficial in the UK that it’s estimated that one in five doctors practise “green prescribing” to help their patients ward off diseases like diabetes and dementia.

Millennials in the UK, disturbed by increasingly turbulent world, are finding peace amid plants. And this can be beneficial in several ways:

Replace screens with greens for lifelong genes. Every hour spent in front of the TV screen shortens your life by 21 minutes, whereas every hour spent gardening lengthens it.

Budding brains

School gardening clubs teach children fine motor skills through tasks such as transplanting seedlings and tying tomatoes.

Green finger gains.

Gardening gets us off our couches and increases physical health by an average of 33%, also contributing to a decreased rate of heart disease and diabetes. Half an hour pushing a lawnmower burns 150 calories, equivalent to a moderate session in the gym and you’ll never have to worry about renewing your membership.

Couples who garden together, stay together.

Planting partners report that they’re far more patient with each other.

Dig in.

The secret of gardeners’ happiness could well lie in the soil: mice show increased levels of serotonin – the “happiness hormone” – when exposed to soil bacteria.

Planting for productivity.

Office workers who have houseplants on their desks are 15% more productive than those who don’t.

Taking “thyme” out.

A study undertaken by two researchers at Leiden University and Wageningen University and Research Center in The Netherlands, asked two groups of people to perform a highly stressful task.

During their downtime, they asked one group to read a book and the other to perform 30 minutes of gardening. Even though both tasks lowered levels of cortisol (the stress-inducing hormone) in the brain, gardening had a higher effect.

To take part in Garden Day, visit www.gardenday.co.za to download a toolkit with hits, tips and how-to videos.

Share your Garden Day celebrations on social media by tagging @GardenDaySA and using #GardenDaySA.