One of the things I’m struggling with at the moment is the realization that I can’t do it all. I remember a good friend’s father at 92 saying he was annoyed because he couldn’t do at 92 what he used to do at 65. And I’m sure I’m not alone when I say at 65, I can’t do what I did when I was 45. I routinely worked 18-hour days out in the nursery when I was 40. On these wickedly hot days it seems like 18-minutes is an appropriate amount of time outdoors.
On that basis, Mayo and I have rethought our gardens. We want to continue gardening so we have to design for the eventuality of getting even older than we are now.
The shade and shrub gardens are staying as is. They’ve been reduced in size but are still large enough to contain the plant collections I want. The only thing left is to continue adding plants and/or switching out the old for the new. The front garden is being built – rock walls etc. But it won’t change once it’s built (I am NOT going to take 60 tonnes of rock down after putting it up) This means it’s as big as it’s going to get and it too is smaller than originally built.
The kicker is the large raised-bed vegetable garden I built for a video project. It’s too darn big for the two of us and it’s a maintenance nightmare. (If you don’t grow the plants you want – Mother Nature grows the plants she wants) I’m taking the wood apart this fall, using it to construct small raised beds (a bit taller than normal) so Mayo can work in them and grow her beloved garden vegetables. The soil will be moved to the front garden or even levelled for a (gasp!) lawn with more than 2-inches of clay soil over bedrock.
The bottom line is that our gardens will be smaller than they are now. There will be less work after they’re built. The soil will be better and our place won’t look like a perpetual construction site.
And I should be able to handle them when I’m 92.
I’m sure many of you have thoughts on this subject and I’d love to hear what you think or what you’ve done. You can post your comments and suggestions for gardening when you’re older right here.