Gardening is a popular pastime, often embraced by those who find that retirement has left time for hobbies. That’s not to say that people of all ages don’t like gardening, simply that once work is removed from the equation, there is more time for it.
The tending of flowers and plants is a rewarding experience, and one that many wax passionate about. Just look at the reaction in Vista Aliso, an ocean-view senior housing complex in South Laguna, CA, when management gave residents notice that most of their patio gardens would have to go. The new rules would allow two chairs, one table, and two potted plants only. Many residents stand openly defiant, defending the intricate patio gardens they have created over the years.
Others are simply saddened and upset. Cindy Frasier of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot shares one instance like this:
May Asaly’s mother lives in an ocean-view unit with fig trees full of fruit and a large grape vine on an arbor, as well as numerous vegetables. Deer come down from the hillsides and eat the plants, and wrought-iron fencing was put in to protect the garden.
This is a great place for seniors, but when they reach a certain age, their only interest in life is to take care of their yards,’ Asaly said. ‘To take this away is very sad.’
On a happier side of the coin are examples like the Highlands Community Ministries Garden Club. Not only its members are raising numerous vegetables such as cherry tomatoes and Swiss chard, but they are working towards a goal, as reported by Martha Elson at The Courier-Journal:
‘It has been a good year,’ said [master gardener Tom] Hardy and master gardener Becky Thompson, who lives in the German-Paristown area, are working with the seniors to fulfill volunteer-hour requirements as master gardeners.
The garden club is an offering of the Shaffer Enrichment Center for seniors, which operates in the church basement in Highlands-Douglass. Club participants had been gardening for a year when their garden area doubled in size this spring.
No matter how you cut it, gardening is a hobby that can not only hold the seniors’ interest far later in life than many other pastimes, but also keeps them active and productive. However, as the years advance, it can be increasingly harder to perform even some of the simpler aspects. One consistent piece of advise found on Rebecca’s Gardening Tips for Seniors, among other resources, is to find gear that make the job easier.
One example of this would be using planters that are set up off the ground so that no bending over is needed to care for them. Railing planters are a good option, as they can easily be attached to existing railings or fence. To ease back strain, the footstools and kneelers can be helpful, as can self-bagging trimmers and yard tools, with which there is no repeated bending over to clean up.
Take proper precautions and good care, and you can continue tending your garden for decades to come!