For many, gardening is one of life's simple pleasures it is also a great way to stay fit and healthy and continue to appreciate the outdoors as we all age! That is, until pain overrides the joy. For most older people living with arthritis, high blood pressure or diabetes, gardening is often a pastime left as a memory. However, with just a few changes, you too can enjoy the pleasures of pain-free gardening.
· Say goodbye to your aching back. With just a few minor modifications, a garden can be an easier place to work. Instead of bending over and planting in the ground, build raised beds to a more comfortable height. Stand with your arms to your side. Where the tips of your fingers hit is the perfect height for the top of the flowerbed. Either enlist help in building of the flowerbed or make sure to wait until later in the day when the sun is not so hot. Always have a water bottle and a proper straw hat.
· A centralized water bucket keeps you from lugging heavy containers to water your plants. Fill a larger container and carry smaller water pots to where your plants are. Or, if economically feasible, consider installing sprinklers. The ease of use will far outweigh the cost.
· Think perennials, shrubs and trees instead of annuals. With a proper mulching program to stave off weeds, perennials are a plant-it-once, love-it-forever plant. This cuts back on your replanting season after season. It also gives you a budget-friendly way to expand your garden. Using native plants is also a good idea, as they are properly suited to your area and will be easier to grow. This is both convenient for you and better for your environment.
· Mulch is not merely a decorative touch for your property. It's meant to keep plants cool, to conserve water and to help provide a barrier to weeds. A small layer of newspaper under the mulch of choice will also provide an organic, biodegradable landscaping fabric. Mulch will break down over the season and will help enrich the soil.
· Propagating your perennials will yield a multitude of new plants each year. Go online or consult a gardening manual in your region to gain the proper times to take cuttings or do divisions of the plants you purchase. Consider a single daylily: one clump will easily provide you with more than 10 new plants each year. This shows you the wealth of plants you can have in just a few short seasons.
· Invest in the right tools for your garden. Have oversized rakes and shovels with ergonomic, padded handles. Investing in proper tools will be cheaper in the long run than purchasing tools that hinder your movements, break from poor construction or fail to work without causing you pain. Less strain for your hands will give you the ability to work longer without pain. A large-wheeled cart will help you move plants and mulch around without having to carry them. Make sure your cart has wheels that rotate 360° and are not locked into a mere front-to-back motion. This makes it much easier to move around without binding.
With just a little foresight, most “older” gardeners can bask in the glory of a wonderful, colorful garden without putting stress or strain on the body. Getting older doesn't mean you have to lose out on the things you love or risk injury to enjoy yourself. By following the above tips, you'll be sharing floral arrangements with the neighbours in no time.
Our passion is to support those older folk in our community by providing information and advice and we just love your feedback on this too!