No matter where you live, January is often a time for daydreaming about gardens.
Maybe you’re still a gardener, or you’re thinking about starting a garden because your family had one when you were growing up, or you’re wondering whether gardening might be a good approach for sustainable food safety, or you’ve experienced a roadblock in sharing your garden with friends who are a bit frail.
For this week’s blog, I’d like to share the great books out there with amazing ideas for gardening if you’re getting older.
These books cover an enormous range. Even those written some time ago have fabulous solutions and introduce topics you may not have thought about.
First, Patty Cassidy’s books:
The Illustrated Practical Guide to Gardening for Seniors: How to maintain your outside space with ease into retirement and beyond and The Age-Proof Garden: 101 Practical ideas and projects for stress-free, low-maintenance senior gardening, shown step by step in more than 500 photographs.
Passionate about her topic, Cassidy starts with the assumption that you’ve recognized you may not be able to continue gardening the way you always have and are ready to plan for the future. Her books are down-to-earth; she’s right there with you, experiencing the same challenges – joint stiffness, less control of hands, limited movement in knees, changing eyesight, less energy, less overall strength even without joint stiffness. She offers suggestions like working on one position for only short periods and has wonderful, fun projects that you can take on and follow through to completion.
Unlike YouTube videos, you can take the book with photos right out to the garden with you for step-by-step reference.
Next, books that consider accessibility. While disability and the need for accessible gardening can be relevant for people of any age, many of these books have specific examples for mature adults like us. The vertical gardening trend concentrates on one aspect of accessible solutions, whether it’s gardening on trellises or using raised beds and containers. But there are plenty of ideas for ergonomic tools, and no, even these tools are not perfect for all users and all situations yet.
(Personally, I’d like to see much lighter and stronger tools. A supposedly ergonomic trowel that falls apart on first use can not only be frustrating to a gardener, for many of us, that sudden failure could result in injury.)
Two extraordinarily simple ideas that may surprise you – how to create a straw bale garden box and a reminder to consider furniture such as a wheelchair accessible picnic table to make just experiencing the garden enjoyable for everyone.
The best I’ve found are:
· Gardening for Seniors: Joyous Activities for Elderly Gardeners with Tips for Reduced Mobility by Andrea Kalli
· Accessible Gardening: Tips and Techniques for Seniors and the Disabled by Joann Woy – an oldie but a goodie
· Enabling Garden: Creating Barrier-Free Gardens by Gene Rothert – considerations for really well-designed workable, navigable garden spaces
· Stand up and Garden: The no-digging, no-tilling, no-stooping approach to growing vegetables and herbs by Mary Moss Sprague – perfect for getting into gardening with family and grandkids
· Accessible Gardening for people with physical disabilities: A guide to Methods, Tools and Plants by Janeen R Adil – covers the basics in a $0.99 Kindle edition
Finally, a thoughtful book by Sydney Eddison, Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older includes real-life stories about finding people to help with your garden and describes a provocative consideration for changing-up your high maintenance lawn.
If you’ve wondered about starting a garden or changing a garden to suit your life in maturity, any of these books can be a great jumping-off point to start off the new year!