Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older
Sooner or later, every older gardener faces a similar challenge. At some point, we all find ourselves asking “If I can’t get out there and dig, plant, and prune as I used to, what am I going to do?”
The garden has been an everyday part of Sydney Eddison’s life for over forty years. It has witnessed the changing of seasons, her greatest joys, and her deepest sorrows. The garden and the gardener have aged and changed together. Gardening for a Lifetime is a touching memoir about having to scale back after widowhood and painful joints made it impossible to keep up with a large country garden.
Intermixing personal experience with practical gardening tips, Eddison has written an encouraging roadmap for accepting and embracing a new and simpler way of gardening. Elegant black and white illustrations evoke Eddison’s everyday joy, sorrow, and contentment in the garden. Gentle, personable, and practical, Gardening for a Lifetime helps transform gardening from a list of daunting chores into the rewarding, joy-filled activity it was meant to be.
Author Sydney Eddison has taken her personal experience of declining physical capacities and created a charming, practical book for all gardeners who face similar challenges due to age, illness, or injury. Finding her beloved garden too much to manage as she had done for so many years, she developed techniques and strategies to continue gardening without it taking such a toll on her body. The experiences of friends and fellow gardeners enrich her story and the range of gardening options she has cultivated.
As simple as it sounds, accepting help in the garden can be hard (and finding and affording qualified help), but Eddison leads her readers through choices for getting past this hurdle, and possible outcomes. Culling was the next task, and although heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to some of her plant friends, pulling out poor performing plants and replacing some of her extensive perennials with shrubs ensured longevity for the whole garden.
Weed control depended more and more on mulching and composting. She learned to accept imperfection, to work with nature rather than battle it, and to use native plants and bulbs to add low-maintenance color. Eddison also planned for the time after her passing by making sure her garden would become part of Newtown Forest Association, protecting her garden from succumbing to urban development.
The writing is engaging and the tone positive, in spite of the author’s physical challenges. I’d recommend this book in particular for gardeners in mid-life and beyond, or people of any age who have to balance their love for gardening with their capacities.