Plant enthusiast Thaakira Hendriks has been a city girl her whole life, living and working in the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. Although she grew up in a house filled with plants, cared for by her mother and a father who was always active in the garden, it wasn’t until she found herself renovating her own home as an adult that she officially started to look towards the light … the green light.
“In addition to wanting to bring plants into our space, I was a workaholic and suffered from anxiety,” says Thaakira. “I had always heard of the therapeutic effects of gardening and being surrounded by plants, which is why my husband and I decided to dig in.
“My first plant was a disaster,” laughs Thaakira. “I placed it in a dark corner and over-watered it … in short, I knew nothing about raising a plant, yet it still provided me with an outlet to release stress and so I continued with the journey of getting my hands dirty and learning the tricks of the trade through trial and error.”
Now with a house full of plants – inside and out – Thaakira spoke to Candide, the free gardening app that supports Garden Day, about branching out as a Plant Parent.
Candide: What do you think it is about gardening and plants that relieves your stress?
Thaakira: For me it’s seeing the plant grow. You realise that this thing is real, where nothing in the concrete jungle is. Plants are God-given and to see the work of nature unfolding before your eyes, progressing and doing well, is just amazing. It’s a satisfaction that no material thing has ever given me.
Candide: How did you start your garden?
Thaakira: We had a pool that we never used and it made us think about what we could do differently in that space. So, we decided to fill the pool, it was such a waste of water at the time and we thought going green would be cool. We went to the Garden Centre and that’s how it all started. I was in the indoor plant section, my husband in the outdoor section and it just spiralled from there.
Candide: Do you eat from your garden? What do you plant in your outdoor garden? Any tips?
Thaakira: Yes, we have a vegetable garden full of produce that we’re able to eat. I can’t remember when we last bought greens from a shop. We have a lot of leafy greens, such as spinach and kale (my favourite). We also have carrots, beets and we’re trying berries now for the first time. We’re waiting for those beautiful berry blooms.
We introduced my now two-year-old niece to our garden when she was still very young. It’s the best thing to see her having fun in the garden, laying seeds, and eating vegetables directly from it. There are a lot of things from the garden that don’t even make it to the kitchen because of this (laughs). Everything in the garden gets her so excited and it’s great that she’s learning where her food comes from.
Candide: What would be your golden green tips?
Thaakira: Just give it a go. You’d be surprised at the benefits it gives you. Not just for your mental health, it also makes any space pop. Plants are like art in my home.
Candide: Final question..do you have a favourite plant baby?
Thaakira: Monstera. They survive through everything and they don’t need much.
If you’re a blossoming plant parent but not 100% sure of how to care for your Monstera versus your Magnolia, download Candide for free from the Apple App and Google Play Stores for a wealth of information and knowledge of all things green.
And don’t forget to share your plant babies with us on @GardenDaySA and tag your pics with #GardenDaySA. We can’t wait to see your snaps!