The physical and mental health benefits of gardening are well known and documented, but as you grow older, the activity can present particular challenges.
Digging, watering, weeding and moving heavy pots may become increasingly difficult, but even if your physical strength is not quite what it was, there are still many ways for you to create, maintain and enjoy a beautiful garden.
Choose Low Maintenance Plants As The Foundation Of Your Garden
First, choose plants which require a minimum amount of attention and maintenance. Perennials, that are to say those which will survive the winter and bloom again in spring, are a particularly good option. Perennials include a wide variety of attractive flowers, including Forget Me Nots, Hibiscus, Agapanthus, Peonies and Portulacas.
These kinds of plants will tolerate most climate conditions and soil types and require little care. As well as flowers, you can select a variety of hardy evergreens and herbs, such as rosemary, sage or thyme to provide scent, color and interest during the cold months of the year.
If you’re interested in growing vegetables, choose low-maintenance varieties such as onions, carrots, beans and leafy greens like spinach.
To keep the need for weeding and watering to a minimum, use mulches. These can consist of compost, leaves, wood chips, straw or even cardboard or brown paper. They are readily available commercially, but also easy to source from your own garden.
Most perennials can be grown very successfully in hanging baskets, raised beds and planters, minimizing the stress on your back and knees. But if you really do need to go to ground, appropriate mobile seating or supportive kneepads can easily be obtained at a modest cost.
Consider An Artificial Lawn
If you’ve always taken pride in your well-tended and perfectly manicured lawn, the idea of artificial grass may be unattractive, but modern products are far superior to the “plastic” grass of old, and much more realistic. They require far less maintenance, are pet-friendly and can provide a very attractive backdrop to your flowers and other plants.
Invest In New Tools And Equipment
Common gardening tools such as shovels, forks and rakes have changed little in their essentials for centuries. But modern materials and design have made available many significantly lighter options, without sacrificing the necessary strength and fitness for purpose.
Well thought out sprinkler and irrigation systems can eliminate much of the physical demands of dragging a hose, although much lighter hoses are also now available.
A pair of good quality gardening gloves is also an excellent investment to help avoid cuts and possible infection.
Above all – Enjoy!
Gardening can be a great source of year round enjoyment and delight but also a physical burden if not properly managed. So, plan your garden carefully and don’t take on more tasks than you can comfortably achieve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends and neighbors may be more than willing – if only they’re asked, and it can then become an enjoyable group experience.
There are numerous books and websites that cater to the specific needs of the older gardener. However, our favorite resources for information on this topic are live events where you can talk face-to-face with an expert and have all of your questions answered in one place, like the Southern Garden Show. This exhibit, held annually in Charlotte, North Carolina, which features gardeners from around the country, is an excellent source of information from professionals.
At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to help all our residents enjoy a happy, independent and healthy lifestyle throughout the year. For more information about our approach to retirement living at our luxurious community in Charlotte, please contact us.