Aging is not for sissies

Are you one of millions of gardeners who has silently wondered how long you can continue gardening because of physical issues in your body? It can happen to any of us… that moment when you suddenly realize you have a ‘new norm’ of what you can no longer do, safely or comfortably in your garden.

What are you going to do? First, you can take comfort because you are not alone! There are 78 million Baby Boomers becoming seniors, going through what you are going through. Baby Boomers don’t easily throw in the towel, give in, nor do they easily give up.

That’s exactly the kind of attitude we want as we age. It helps us be resilient and accepting of ‘what is’. It’s important to remember you do have a choice. You can be depressed because your body doesn’t work the way it used to, or look around for another way to get it done.

Adaptive Gardening to the rescue

Do you suffer from a bad back or hips? I was once incapacitated for six weeks lying flat on my back. I could barely walk, so gardening was out of the question and that made me sad. After two weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I heard my Mom’s voice in my head saying, “Basta, Toni!” (Enough!)

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.”

Years ago I was a member of the National Speakers Association and had the pleasure of meeting Cavett Robert, who was the organizations founder. He was known for his folksy way of putting things and he used that quote often. It didn’t fully sink in at the time, but now I know: when you’re in pain, it can be a very dark time.

I decided to devote my downtime to research adaptive gardening. An article I read about it was intriguing to me and I thought this information was important for all gardeners to know. It made me want to share it with as many of them as possible.

“With A Little Help From My Friends”

Remember that Beatles song? Now more than ever, it’s true. We can get by with the help of our community and learning how to adapt garden chores can be as easy as talking to your friends or neighbors. Ask them to recommend who you could hire to climb a ladder with a power tool to trim your hedges. Better yet, decide what needs to be done and have a garden work party. Reward them by serving salads adorned with edible flowers and refreshing basil lavender lemonade, or better yet, a glass of wine!

Treat Yourself!
This Mother’s Day, treat yourself to a new pair of suede and leather rose gauntlet gloves. You will cherish them like a best friend because of how well they protect you when you’re pruning roses or berries. Or, look for lightweight gloves with carbon fiber fingertips. They are cool because you can answer your phone without removing your glove. Shop for a good quality non-kink lightweight hose. You will thank yourself every time you use it.

More Treats!

Have you been thinking about buying yourself a new Felco pruner? Send me an email and I will send you a 10% discount code from Felco. I also have discount coupons for Gardeners Supply Catalog, so let me hear from you!


There are now 78 million baby boomers born in the United States following World War II from 1946 to 1964 who are now becoming seniors. One thing is certain: We are all going to grow older and when we age, natural changes occur in our bodies, which can make gardening more of a challenge instead of a joy.

Have you noticed changes in your body you would consider your “new normal”? With knee and hip replacements becoming commonplace, we once again can garden with gusto, as long as we know how to garden smarter. Here area couple of things to be aware of:

  • If you sense of balance becomes impaired and if you’re noticing slower reaction times, that’s probably not the time you should get on a ladder with a power tool. (You should not be on a ladder anyway!)
  • Reduced clarity of vision and depth perception can make garden tools hard to use and hard to find.
  • Muscle strength may decrease, causing carrying a 50-pound bag of fertilizer difficult, if not impossible.

By paying attention to our bodies and incorporating Adaptive Gardening tips and techniques, we can continue to garden for as long as we wish, without pain and in joy.

Why not? There is nothing more fun than having five or six friends help you get your gardening projects done, and like most gardeners I know, all you have to do is feed them a lovely lunch and they’re happy to help.

When I graduated from the Master Gardeners program, I heard a lot of my classmates say they had a list a mile long of all the projects they wanted to do in their gardens. I came up with the idea of having Garden Parties and I had no trouble whatsoever of finding people to volunteer to have one. I sent out an email to everyone with the details of where and when and everyone who said they would, showed up. We planted a tree, did some weeding, transplanted shrubs, planting a tree, and spread mulch down a hillside. Afterwards, we had a great lunch.

When I started hearing about how the garden industry is being challenged as baby boomers retire, downsize and have fixed incomes, my reaction is to keep it going with GARDEN PARTIES. Call some friends and invite them over. Or, if you have a friend who’s been ill or unable to get out into her garden, why not organize (with your friend’s permission) a small gathering to help her get ready for spring.