It’s summer and a time to spend outdoor in your garden and get creative with inspiring ideas from Willie Schmidt of ASPIDISTRA Garden Centre.
The Newspaper recently paid Willie, owner of ASPIDISTRA Garden Centre en route to Stellenbosch, a visit. Willie has a great love and passion for gardening.
His creativeness is visibly displayed throughout the beautiful ASPIDISTRA garden. He says, “I cannot absorb, nor draw enough from the elements of nature through gardening, it is a passion I live for, and gives me great joy.”
Willie Schmidt is the mastermind behind the beauty of the nursery. Every single time The Newspaper paid Willie a visit, we discovered new things. His style is eclectic and he works with a lot of rusty, throw-away objects sourced from all over. This incredibly gifted creative landscape designer’s talent masterfully executed using everyday toss away items can be viewed daily as he frequently makes changes covering every little turn, nook, and cranny, the wonder of his imagination. This is not your average nursery!
A Healthy Spirit
To Willie gardening is his life; he lives creativity, and believes every person has the hidden ability to live creativity.
“Gardening is good for the human soul; it keeps the entire body healthy; it builds and maintains a healthy spirit.”
To him the secret in maintaining a healthy presence is bringing out nature’s creativeness hidden within the element of gardening. Furthermore, “To those who are not feeling well or even depressed the secret in regaining composure lies in gardening.” Through experience he confirms, “To weed the garden or to plant new shrubs uplifts the human moral; it enhances relaxation, it stimulates the brain, and enhances mental health.”
Gardening to his opinion is nothing short of the best in therapeutic therapy. Why call upon a psychiatrist, if gardening provides the best in therapy.
Notwithstanding his great love for gardening, Willie qualified in 1987 as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Pretoria. He practiced as a Psychologist for almost 5 years, where after he became actively involved in the nursery industry, his occupation for the past 21 years. In 2001 he moved to Cape Town and purchased the ASPIDISTRA Garden Centre, near Stellenbosch.
Motivation through creation
Willie says, “Every object that comes my way has a distinct meaning, be it broken, as the lives of people in general are, I see the beauty in the object, even as I see the beauty within man, and compose out of brokenness the beauty through the art of gardening. I motivate within every client the desire to actively engage in gardening.”
From a psychological viewpoint the comparison between the human element and plants hold great truths. Willie never talks to his plants, yet he motivates his clients.
“If a plant does not grow, give it food. If the plant has no desire to respond to the food, make compost with it.” When viewing any object Willie points out, “Do not see a glass for what it is designed to be, but rather, the potential in what can be done with it, even if broken.”
Willie’s gardening innovation with its hidden psychological advantages have taken centre stage. He has been interviewed by many TV Producers and featured in several media publications and TV Broadcasts over the years. He is involved in the SABC TV 3 production Expresso, the SABC TV 2 production Pasella, and KykNet’s Tuine en Tossels.
Another great love of Willie is his Show Chickens. He is actively engaged in six shows per year, exhibiting 15 different breeds. The most popular of his show chickens is the Orpington breed.
Art in Gardening
A wide selection of products are made available at ASPIDISTRA Garden Centre, each with its own unique character; each selected by Willie to develop the stimulus in gardening whereby he is able to reflect the nature of perfected gardening.
The photos in this article are carefully selected to underline the therapeutic fullness, and the importance of reshaping gardening unto a higher level of understanding. The art of gardening stimulates the human mind, and therefore adds to the release of added stress.
To enhance the importance of gardening, Willie engaged in compiling a coffee table book reflecting the beauty of gardening. The publication will be available in December 2015.
Come and see for yourself what can be done with an old wheelbarrow, bath and door, broken pottery, builder’s rubble and pieces of wood. Everything can be turned into something unique. Instead of rows upon rows of plants, making you yawn with boredom, you can pick and choose your plants, containers, garden embellishments in this amazing setting, while getting your imagination fired up with all the visual inspiration around you at the same time!
Visit ASPIDISTRA’s charming tea garden under the trees, before spending a couple of hours quietly taking in the many, captivating scenes in the nursery’s garden itself.
Aspendistra Garden Centre is located on the corner of R310, known as Baden Powell Road, and Vlaeberg Road, near Stellenbosch.
For more information contact Willie Schmidt at 021 881 3494 or