One heartfelt garden design to consider in Elderyarding® is the sentimental garden. Think of it. Here you are, aging in place. Maybe the home is already sentimental. It’s where you raised children and have a life full of memories it its walls and furnishings. Or maybe the home is new to you because you relocated for family or better climate. And if life has kept you busy, the garden may need work.
Adding sentiment and nostalgia to your garden connects you with the past, with family, and with your own feelings. These are all great nature connections beneficial to your health, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, and strengthening the emotional synapses in your brain
In case the thought of a sentimental garden leads to nightmares of fussy annual flowers and yards strewn with signs of sweet sayings, consider these approaches.
The pass-along plants approach
With this approach, think about plants that hold special meaning for you. Maybe you remember that your dad used to grow tree roses. You could add a pair of antique roses in pots on either side of your front door in his memory. If you can find the variety he grew and it suits your climate, all the better!
Or you notice that a neighbor’s shady side yard contains pale yellow columbines just like the ones that your best friend’s grandmother had in her yard. When your neighbor mentions the columbines need to be divided, you willingly take some to remind you of your friend and add a memory of your nice neighbor.
The design-from-the-past approach
Maybe you visited colonial Williamsburg on your honeymoon and had forgotten about the gardens until you saw a brick sidewalk recently. Use the colonial designs and create a loving reminder in your yard to go along with your wedding photos in the house.
Another option might be to consider your roots. If your ancestors were early settlers who worked the land, yet more recently everyone’s been a city dweller, ponder how your landscape might re-create a vision of those early days. Maybe it’s adding native trees such as pecans or sour gum. When you collect the nuts or marvel at the flaming fall leaves, it’s a chance to remember the lives who came before you.
The what’s-old-is-new-again approach
One more choice is to dream your way through the unique plant catalogs and websites of the small nurseries and growers and plant their offerings. The internet has been great for finding and sharing these. Numerous small businesses now offer tough survivors in bulbs and plants rescued from old homesteads and farm fields. Try Antique Rose Emporium, Old House Gardens, and Southern Bulb Company.
Select Seeds, among others, has found and restocked sources of earlier varieties with colors and fragrances that have gone out of style. Try old fashioned sweet peas, nasturtiums, nicotiana, bred to smell good. People used to deliberately plant them to enjoy when sitting on the porch in the early morning or dusk, when the change in temperature and humidity causes the scent to waft enticingly in the air.
Ready to try this approach to Elderyarding®? Could you use some help with that? Call me – 512-917-5758. And do share these ideas with your friends on social media!