Life Is Good
A fellow garden blogger has to cut back on the hard labor in the yard due to medical issues. I can identify. We all grow older, and our gardens grow older… we can move from a garden (or house) that is too much work, but you are sort of stuck with your body. This becomes the next challenge for many of us.
Lots of garden ideas and their accompanying pictures are lots of work, and probably involver the work of more than one person. I don’t think this sort of gardening is going to be sustainable… not because of the environment, but because of the nonrenewable energy of US! At the same time gardening is becoming more important for health and economic reasons. What to do?
Sure, machines…. but even machines require a certain amount of strength and energy. So it comes down to design.
1 Redesign your ideas
- About what you want in your garden.
- About what you expect from yourself.
- About what portion of time and effort goes into the garden work.
My husband and I want more time to enjoy what we’ve worked on. we have worked hard on the house and garden for lots of years. LOTS. Mostly it was to nourish and shelter our growing family. Now our family is shrinking along with our ability to put the work into large gardens.
Even if we did have equal ability to expend effort, our desire now is to enjoy our lives more in activities outside our home and garden. That is an idea that is not age-related… we ought to have redesigned that part of our view years ago.
2 Figure out how your redesigned ideas and goals will look in garden projects and plantings.
- Act like you are in a whole new place with a whole new garden.
- Rethink how you want that place to function.
I’m starting to view everything with the desire to simplify the look. This is hard because I am such a collector/conservator sort of person.
But as I discover that a clean look and ease of maintenance is a good aesthetic for me… It becomes easier to part with those work and energy pit ideas of fussy plants, or rock edgings that require lots of hand snipping, or plant companions where one just swamps another, etc.
3 Go ahead and be brave- implement those revolutionary ideas. In the house it has been room by room, outside it is the same method. I am changing gardens one by one to require less work. The heavy duty vegetable space out in the back 40 (OK, just half an acre deep into the yard) is getting raised beds.
- The tiller is a more manageable size for me and fits inside those raised beds. We resumed food growing because it makes sense for our future.
- Flowers are now in containers, for annual types, and the hardier, self-sufficient type in mixed plantings.
- I gave up the former English style perennial border, and don’t even plan to have another.
- I am growing cutting flowers in the old veggie garden, which still shares space with lettuce and Swiss chard.
4 Frequent and small tasks rather than marathon work extravaganzas. I am trimming down my life, and have been for many years. I decided my garden was important to me on many levels, so it actually is now gaining a bigger share of the pie chart.
For some, this change involves a new view of gardening, an end in itself, rather than an obligation to keep the curbside value of the house.
Keep it simple, but not to the point of dead boring- expand the interest in your yard to the extent that some consistent efforts will produce satisfying results.
Stay outside long enough to get some vitamin D. Puttering can be fun.
5 Design for small areas of big impact. Small areas are easier to take care of, if your work is restricted to a few parts of the yard, and the results are apparent. This includes a large empty urn, a few big rocks, a grove of small ornamental trees underplanted with groundcover.
Good design keeps the picture big and unified, not small and bitty and all over the place…which is really hard to take care of, anyway.
|Grandma in the garden with grandson: passing on the love of gardening|
|Life is Good|