Gardening is the Best Medicine - So much is gained by designing, planning and creating a garden. There is nothing like it for helping fight depression.


There is nothing like working in the garden, getting hot, sweaty and tired to get rid of the monkey on your back. GARDENING IS THE BEST way of all to help you through a fit of the blues.

There is such a feeling of satisfaction of a job well done, even if it is rearranging the pots or pulling some weeds.

If Prince Charles, can talk to his plants, then I certainly can, and do.


Not only the plants but the birds and insects and myself, when I stepped back and fell over the bird bath, I said some very nasty things to it. How funny it must have looked and I did have a good laugh about it after the bruises had disappeared.

Fortunately, it was early in the morning and not a creature was stirring (you do know I live in a Retirement Village). Everyone else was still safely tucked up in bed when this happened and only my bottom and my ego were bruised, nothing was broken.

It pays to watch out carefully for hidden, or in my case, not so hidden obstacles.

When designing and laying out a natural garden I use a lot of rocks, pebbles, logs and loads of compost. I also try to make use of the indigenous plants as they are so beautiful and do better in the extreme heat we are experiencing now.


One just needs to see how many nurseries are around and also gardening magazines to realize what universal appeal gardening has.

As I traveled along the beautiful Cape Garden Route on my way to Port Alfred, recently, it was such a pleasure to stop and take photos of the lovely gardens along the way.

There is the natural garden growing all along the Garden Route which makes this such a popular attraction to visitors from far and near. I was fortunate that the Watsonias were still in bloom, although it was almost time for them to die down. What a lovely sight they were, such a variety of colors.


Although we lived in Port Elizabeth for a number of years, at that time I would not have thought of Colchester, which is not far from Port Elizabeth as a place to visit to view beautiful gardens.

Colchester Gardens

After being welcomed so warmly by Ronwyn’s sister,  Pam and her husband, Nigel, and upon seeing the lovely garden Pam has created there, my mind was changed. Indigenous plants were used in the creation of this paradise, for them to enjoy, as well as for the bird life in that area.

Their home is right on the riverside and so the views from their porch are stunning, The Sundays river has beautifully grassed banks on their side and huge sand dunes on the other. This makes for a spectacular setting in which to live. It is also a very peaceful setting.

My admiration for this couple and all they have done knows no bounds.

By putting in large water storage tanks which collect the rainwater, they are able to keep their lovely garden flourishing. Living in Cape Town, with our water restrictions, I am well aware of how difficult this is to do.


Knysna, located in the heart of the Garden Route in South Africa, is a charming town known for its natural beauty and warm hospitality. There is something for everyone in Knysna, from adventure seekers to those who just want to relax and take in the stunning views.

One of the most popular activities in Knysna is to take a leisurely cruise on the Knysna Lagoon, where you can see the famous Knysna Heads up close and marvel at the beauty of the surrounding landscape. For those who prefer more adrenaline-fueled activities, there are plenty of options such as bungee jumping, zip lining, and shark cage diving.

If you’re interested in history and culture, be sure to visit the Knysna Museum, which showcases the town’s rich heritage and fascinating past. You can also explore the local art scene by visiting the many galleries and studios in the area, or by attending one of the regular art festivals and events.

Of course, no trip to Knysna would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local cuisine. Thesan Island and the great shopping area and lots of eateries. From fresh seafood to traditional South African dishes, there are plenty of options to suit all tastes.

And if you’re a wine lover, be sure to visit one of the many vineyards in the surrounding countryside for a tasting or tour.

In addition, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in and around Knysna, such as hiking in the nearby forests, visiting the nearby beaches, or exploring the nearby nature reserves. Overall, Knysna is a wonderful destination for anyone looking for a mix of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty.

While in Knysna, staying with very dear friends, we took a long walk around their neighborhood, lead by Piquita, the dear little Chihuahua, and saw some lovely gardens along the way.


After the severe drought, we are in the middle of in the Western Cape, it was a real treat to see such greenery and floral delights. Agapanthus on mass is a sight for sore eyes.

Another thing, which I find so beautiful, is the colors of the bark on certain trees. Judging from the paintings I have seen, I am not the only one to find it really appealing.

In the past, I have planted trees, especially for their bark appeal.

No, they were not dogwoods but plants like Paper Bark, Pride of India and not forgetting the Guava tree, which, sadly we are no longer permitted to grow.

Many people visit Knysna and the surrounding area as there is so much to do and see. The beauty of the Cape Garden Route is unbelievable and draws visitors from around the world.

Besides the natural beauty of the area, there are so many extra places of interest to see. The Bird Park, Elephant Sanctuary, Monkey Land.

These are just some of the many things to do and see in and around Knysna.


#lovely,garden,to,relax,inHaving spent two lovely days in Colchester and Port Elizabeth, it was time to make our way back to Port Alfred and to see what gardens to visit there.

What a fortunate invitation we received for a tea date with a friend, Joy. It was great getting to know yet another of Ronwyn’s many friends and to enjoy getting to know Joy.

She is a very gifted, artistic person and has created a restful and beautiful, home and garden. Not only that but she also does many arts and crafts. This delighted me as I blog on all things Art – yes, even the Art of Living.

Joy graciously showed us the lovely cloths she had painted, and not only that she explained exactly how she painted them to get the effect she did. Very interesting and something for me to try at a later stage.

The ladies have a thriving Craft Group going in Port Alfred which is a great way to build friendships with like-minded people.

There is no reason to believe that there is nothing to do in the country.

We. as a family have moved from City to Country living and have learned along the way, that wherever you are, it is up to you to make the effort to fit in.


GARDENING IS THE BEST MEDICINE - working in the garden is therapeutic. It lifts the spirits. Get rid of the frustrations and anxieties while gardening.When moving about and having to settle into a new area, and  a new home,  one of the best things I have found was to join the local library. Join a Church and get to know the people. There are invariably notice boards up advising of different groups running in the town, city or Church.

Find one that suits your interests and go around visiting various groups until you find one you are happy with. Should you not find what you are looking to begin your own group.

The group a couple of friends and I began in Pinelands more than thirty years ago is still going strong. What fun we have had over the years and such wonderful friendships formed through a shared passion.


There is something that works for me when  I find it hard to fall asleep and it is usually when I am feeling low. Instead of worrying about not being able to sleep, I use this time to plan.

It doesn’t matter what comes to mind, it could be a dress I want to design and make, changing the furniture around, or making changes in the garden.


One thing that works for me when I am feeling down is to plan a new layout for my garden.

Plan it and then put it into action.

Get the family involved if you need muscle power and the fun of working together, keep in mind that #gardeningisthebestmedicine.

Far better than sitting around feeling blue.

So plan to get out there, get your hands dirty, and get the monkey off your back.

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. Hi Jill, I agree with you. Gardening is a great medicine. The other day my husband and I started pulling the weeds in our backyard, then our toddler joined us and we were there spending some time together. It was a lovely afternoon, doing something relaxing and as a family, rather than being each one of us immersed in our phones we were actually talking and planning what other plants we want to have. At the moment we just have a couple of small citrus trees that are starting to grow. It is so relaxing to water our plants every afternoon. It is becoming our family daily therapy.

    • Hi Thais, Well you can’t go wrong with having citrus trees. They are so rewarding. Happy to hear you are having family time in the garden. It is a wonderful time to bond and also to teach your little one the value of gardening as a family.

  2. I am glad I bumped into this post of natural gardening.
    Thank you, for sharing this valuable info about the home garden. It must be beneficial for people who can not sleep well have to work something in the garden.
    Can you help me? I bought colored stonecrop seeds. How to take care of them?
    Thank you again for your work.

    • Hi Tina, Thank you so much for reading my post. I am most interested to know more about the stonecrop plants. We don’t seem to have them here but I will look it up in my gardening books.

  3. Hi Jill,
    I love this post. I remember growing up and having to garden with my mom. There’s so much that goes into it but it can be relaxing at the same time. I can still remember picking for twigs and rocks, tilling the soil, and making rows. We had a vegetable garden and it was huge. When it was in full bloom it was beautiful, and then the fun part. Picking all the veggies. I think you have a great post here with great pictures. Thanks so much for sharing you experiences. I’ll be awaiting more posts.

    • Hi Jen, Thank you so much for reading my post and the great comments. I absolutely love gardening and am so happy I had parents who were also keen gardeners. You were also fortunate to enjoy gardening with your mom.

  4. I agree Jill! I grew up with gardens and greenhouses (since we are in a cold climate and they extend the growing season) and they were always peaceful and happy for me. I love seeing the colors, smelling the different plants and flowers, seeing the insects like bees and butterflies and hearing birds, frogs, wind and raindrops. There is always something to make you feel better in a garden whether it is a pretty flower, the feeling of pride when you harvest a gorgeous vegetable or just being outside.

    Your South African gardens are lovely! It is amazing how every corner of the world can have such beautiful plants even though they are in such different climates. People may be surprised to know we have amazing flowers and plants here in Alaska. The long hours of daylight in the summer produce unique growing conditions. We have record setting vegetables that can get huge but also grow very sweet due to the cool soil and long daylight. We have a new industry in growing peonies in recent years as well. They bloom later here than in warmer climates so we can produce peonies that can be used for weddings later in the year than they are available from other locations. Therefore, there is a global market for our peonies! We also have ideal conditions for them. I dream of having a peony farm someday! I have a few plants now.

    I miss having a garden now but living in an apartment I do what I can. Even having pots of plants on the deck adds that feel of a garden and provides some peace.

    • Hi Jessica, Sorry it has taken so long to reply to you. I am so interested in the plants that grow in your area and love reading your posts. Find learning about other parts of the world is so interesting and improves one’s knowledge.
      Am pleased that you also love gardening. One of the best smells in the world to me, is the smell of wet earth after a drought and the rain comes at last.

  5. Hi Jill,
    It seems like you live in a very beautiful area! And I am sure all of the other gardens give you great ideas as well! I have always found gardening relaxing, but I am not very good at keeping plants thriving. I would love to know your biggest tips!

    • Hi Alexis, Thank you so much for the comments on my post. I also find gardening relaxing and sometimes challenging. My best tip is to look at others gardens in your area and see what is doing well and then with compost and care and feeding, go ahead and visit the nursery and buy the same plants you see thriving in your area. Plant them in the right situation in your garden. Some plants are happy in the sun and others in the shade. Check out when the sun is in what area of your own garden.
      All the best and happy gardening.

    • Hi Alexis, So sorry I thought I had replied to this but appears not. Gardening is a wonderful way of relaxing and can also be hard work. My best advice is to plant what is indigenous to your area and also to use the correct compost and fertilizer. Your local nursery would be able to advise you.
      Best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *