Gardening is one of those hobbies that you can do throughout your lifetime- but much like a favorite sport, we find ourselves having to make adjustments as our bodies change. And, we also see how gardening changes as you age.
Gardening keeps you healthy in the mind and body, and can help prolong vitality better than most other activities. It’s been shown that gardening is excellent, gentle exercise that offers cardiovascular strengthening and of course, muscular strengthening. The gentle, low impact physical stress that gardening offers is wonderful, especially for aging bodies. So, even though bodies change, gardening is one hobby that as you get older happens to be far more beneficial than it is harmful.
But that doesn’t mean our bodies can go like they used to. Here are some ways you can make gardening easier on your body as you age, which can help you avoid injury most importantly, but will also help you enjoy more- after all, you’ve earned it!
Extreme temperatures are dangerous for everyone, but as we age our bodies are less able to recover from heat stroke and dehydration as well as our bodies could when we were younger. You may notice an emphasis on shade gardens and moon gardens with the older gardening crowd, and this is because of a natural gravitation away from hard work in the heat. Creating bigger gardens that are more shaded and gardens that take advantage of the evenings and nights are a fun challenge for those with experienced green thumbs too. We have a very wide selection of plants that are shade lovers, with more ideas on creating shade gardens here.
Consider creating more shade in your garden by planting more shade trees too. Moon gardens are simply gardens with plants that bloom at night that carry heavy scent, like jasmines and Brugmansia. White flowers gleam in the moonlight too. Moon gardens are also excellent for lesser known pollinators, like moths and bats. Many beautiful moon gardens around the world also use water features as part of their allure. Installing landscape lighting makes gardens and water features magical at night.
Accessibility is important as we age too. At some point, getting around an expansive garden and having the energy to do it all becomes impossible. Focusing on smaller garden beds, especially raised ones on patios, make gardening for those with mobility concerns a possibility. This is a necessity for those who live in assisted living facilities of course, but this is also a consideration if you’re aging at home.
Patio and container gardening doesn’t have to be limited to annuals and vegetables either. You can create a container or patio garden out of more permanent shrubs and trees easily. Here are some simple container garden plant ideas that aren’t ordinary container solutions. Using perennials, small trees, and even installing a small water feature using containers is a great start.
And finally, taking a cue from the old art form of Tai Chi- everything done at a slow, steady pace makes for great gardening results that come in an enjoyable, healthy way. Take your time doing things in the shade. Make lots of wonderful drinks to enjoy as you go along. Pet the cat, watch the butterflies. This is what gardening has always been about!
Are you seeing any changes in how you garden now compared to when you first started? We'd love for you to share how gardening has changed for you.
Be sure to read our article on Gardening with Physical Limitations.