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#12 Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

Midland City, AL

I think a new thread might make life a little easier for those who have dial-up access. The old thread was getting long.
We welcome newcomers to this thread where we discuss the practical, day-to-day issues of gardening and spending time outdoors when you are also coping with some sort of physically limiting condition.
Over on the "Kneeler" thread I brought up the possibility of having a Sticky on the forum for online resources we all like. (A short list of the better books on the subject might be a good idea, as well.) Does anyone else think this is a good idea? If so, I was thinking it wouldn't have to be a Sticky. That would fall under the category of Practical Matters and we could keep a running list of what's current in this thread's intro. After all, accessible gardening as a niche of gardening is relatively new and there aren't that many really useful resources.. ~Nadine~


This message was edited Sep 15, 2011 5:33 PM

Midland City, AL

We came from here:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1195873/
There will definitely be red poppies in the Old Soldiers Garden. I’m hoping I can talk Kay into creating the poem and its response poem “We Shall Keep the Faith”by Moina Micheal on matching concrete slabs by next year. There is a lot of utilitarian concrete work (like the w/c ramp) that needs to be done first (Jim)

Thumbnail by seacanepain
(Debra) Garland, TX

Sure, Nadine.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I'm with you Nadene.My #1 suggestion for anyone who can still garden on 2 feet is to have sitting stations every few feet to rest and to injoy your garden. It's made a big difference to me. Also for me big flowerpots are the way to garden.
Vickie

Midland City, AL

Yes, containers are my favorite method too. I did a little more work on my deck rail planter. I dug my paintable silicon sealant out of the plumbing supplies and put small PVC pipes in the drainage holes. The wood around the drainage holes tends to rot fast. I’m hoping this will solve the problem. Well, slow it down anyway. In our humidity wooden anything has a limited life span. We are big fans of the new recycled, plastic-wood composite lumber in the humid south.
I think the book All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew should be on our resources list. For garden newbies or lazy gardeners like me the SFG method is ideal. There have even been SF Gardens set up on old hospital gurneys and wheeled to the gardeners. :-) People like Kay think SFG is a little confining. I say when she has been humbled by a few more birthdays, she will change her mind.
Since Vickie posted a Thrive link about seed sowing with low vision, Carrie submitted their “Carry on Gardening” link, and Nadine re-posted the link because it had gotten buried up, I’d say Thrive is a given as a resource link.
My garden work for the day involves sitting at my desk and running old telephone books through the shredder. We’ve started using our shredded paper to smooth out rough spots in the dirt driveway and paths. I wasn’t sure about that at first, but using a micro-fine shredder it is working out well. I was afraid it would blow around and be a huge mess. The finely shredded paper has a tendency to want to cling together and becomes a solid mass after being wet. I think I will extend the experiment to leveling w/c paths. If it doesn’t stick to the wheels. We may be on to something effective and inexpensive. Warning: paper run through the older style strip shredders ABSOLUTELY makes a mess. .Microfine paper shred works best when there isn’t much wind or any kids around. “Look, Grump-pa! It’s snowing!” isn’t something you want to hear on a summer day while spreading micro-fine paper shreds. :-) The powers that be knew what they were doing when they made kids so cute. It has survival value for them. Wasn’t it George Carlin who did a whole routine on the subject when he became a father? Where’s our George Carlin expert? Hey, Katiebear, where are you? (Jim)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I'm still alive, but barely... we went to visit our FOUR grandchildren in Utah. The way the flights worked out, as there is no direct flight (except on American), we had to fly Bos-Phx, take the airport shuttle to a Best Western, sleep for four hours or so, get up early and go back to the airport to catch a flight to SLC! We were already exhausted when we got there, 2 days of Grandpa-riding and singing at the top of their lungs and Carrie-reading-books and so on, we were TOTALLY wiped out. Then to get home, we tried to catch a 9 am flight SLC-somewhere (I forget) but there were no free seats so we had to sit around for three hours until the next flight which was SLC-phx which we got on, then rented the same Best Western for a few hours of sleep. My daughter drove down from Prescott AZ (which is 2 hrs away) and we fed her dinner and then went back to sleep. Alarm clock woke us up in time for the red eye flight PHX-boston! We got home at 7 am. 24 hours after we left SLC. Personally, I can't wait until they move to Ft Worth because there are direct flights!!!!

The kids were very different ...clearly worried about this move ....clingier, more affectionate and less independent than usual. They're usually very rugged and ignore me 'cause I can't play BB or catch or soccer with them, but this time they were all happy to give me hugs and kisses! They're going to the first three weeks of UT school then 2 weeks of vacation at Grandma's house then 20 hours of driving east and south then jumping into the middle of TX school which started in the middle of August! There's no way to prepare kids for that kind of move. I changed schools a lot when I was little, and there IS no way to make it easier. At least Ft Worth is farther east than SLC!

(Debra) Garland, TX

Carrie, have any of them lived or been to this area of Texas for any extended period of time?

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

There may be a little culture shock.But ETexans are for the most part friendly,helpful and very nice people.
They better bone up on football,football and football tho.
I remember once long time ago reading a travel suggestion for Texas driving. Whereby you should always follow the flow of traffic and not the speed laws. That nolonger is true.LOL
They'll do fine Carrie.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Debra, I don't think any of them have left Utah for more than a day or two, and then they went west not east! Then they were always with parents 24 hrs.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Summers probably won't be too much of a change. It's hot both places. We might have more humidity, but nothing like the East Coast. Winters will be the most different. Wait until they get here and find it it is fairly common to be in the 60s or 70s and sunshine on Christmas Day. :-) The heavily Latino population, emphasis on football, slew of different Evangelical churches, and ingrained arrogance of native Texans (after all, it DID used to be it's own country :-), will probably be the biggest culture shocks. Routinely violent Spring weather is a little scary. I'm originally from South Bend, IN. Lived seven years in Denver and two on the Space Coast of Florida. All in all, though, I would still choose living here. Give them my contact information, I'll do whatever I can to help them settle in.

Midland City, AL

Kids are amazingly resilient and adaptable. My older brother and sister tell me I made quite a fuss when we moved from TOWN to the country. I had just started school and didn’t want to move away from all my new friends. After I became accustom to doing farm work and made friends with boys on neighboring farms, I was okay with the move, but it took me a few months to adjust.
I decided to try planting carrots in my newly made rail planter. I think as the season changes the change in the angle of the sun will give the planter enough light. But, I also planted lettuce and curled parsley just in case I’m wrong. The hanging baskets are planted with snow peas. I put new soil in the cocoa fiber lined baskets that has water crystals in it. I’m not happy with the fiber baskets so far because they dry out too quickly. We have begun potting up some things for the winter like the aloe vera and a handful of other marginally hardy things. We aren’t doing nearly as many tropicals and marginally hardy plants as we once did. Yaaaaa! I will be able to get around in the house this winter without needing a machete. (Jim)

(Debra) Garland, TX

So I don't need to send that pith helmet I've been saving for you? :-)

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

LOL!! Too funny, Deb!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Back here, we are planting cabbages and ornamental Kale. Any day now I expect to see all the lovely beds of ginormous impatiens trashed and replaced with regimental rows of kale. I never dare to take a cutting - I wouldn't be able to give it enough sun or care.

I expect the biggest transition these kids will go through is the culture shock of going from a 99% Mormon culture to a ?% Mormon one. I mean, they offer religion classes in the public schools in UT! The kids will learn how to spell diversity, and how to feel it. My GD used to feel bad because all the Disney princesses had blond hair and hers was brown.auburn. (We don't include Mulan or Jasmine, naturally not.) Now she'll find that princesses come in all colors, shapes and sizes! I think UT is naturally more beautiful, but TX is culturally more interesting by a mile.

Midland City, AL

Oh well, that’s okay, Debra. Kay would have snagged the pith helmet from me anyway. She has a hat obsession. Never goes out without one. Can’t trust Nadine around pencils. Can’t trust Kay around hats.
Nadine is teasing that I must have been craving fruit when I placed my last daylily order. I received ‘Little Grapette’ and ‘Strawberry Candy” today. The ‘Strawberry Candy’ is for the CanDo Container Garden. I’m not sure yet where the ‘Grapette’ will go. I bought that one just because I liked the look of it. Perhaps, in a raised container on the south side of the workhouse. They are classified an early bloomer, but they rebloom in fall. The purple would be a nice contrast to the oranges and yellows there this time of year. I’ll have to think of some tall spring companions.
Kay did a little work on the ramp this morning, but it has been raining most of the day. Nadine’s been painting and baking. I’ve been very busy snoring. :-) Jim

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I got up and went to Russellville at 4am this morning. Am going to make homemade Butterscotch pies and potato salad for the reunion. Walmarts have some Christmas decorations in. Why was i not surprised?
Am doing the table decorations also. That will be fun and I've accumulated alot of fall decos over the years.
Am glad they allow religion in Ut schools. They outlawed it in Texas While my girls were going to school.
Most of the kids met before school and said prayers anyway.
Wamarts has their spring bulbs out. I'm going to get some hyacinths the 3rd.Most of mine are blue. Need some pink and white ones.I may get some more crocus also. Lowes will probably have their Christmas cactus later in October. Would like more of them too. My red spider lillys are just blooming now.The zennias are putting on a second round of blooms.
I've got Strawberry Candy daylilly.

(Debra) Garland, TX

You are going to have a few more in the next couple of weeks, Vicki. :-)

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

MMMM.. i've never had Butterscotch pie. I must be scrumptious!!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

They don't just permit it, Vicki, they require it, and it has to be that religion, no other. But whatever. I think religion belongs at home andin a church, not in a school, but I'm from Massachusetts.

Our BE Susans are going crazy, the chrysanthemum is getting ready to burst, and the BE Susan vine is finally getting going (along with a morning glory friend).

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

Oh how I missed having a BE Susan vine this year. Hope to have one again next year though. The yellow BE Susan vine planted with the Red Cypress (Hummingbird) vine is a stunning look!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

That does sound like a pretty combination, BB.
Nadi has been working her way through old recipes to see what is worth saving. I hope there is a recipe for butterscotch pie among them. I love butterscotch! I wasn’t impressed by the first depression era choc. Cake she made. They must have been desperate for choc. Cake then. The second choc. Cake she made from a Depression era recipe was amazing. One of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had despite the fact it had no eggs, butter or shortening and contained vinegar. I was almost afraid to try it, but I’m glad I did.

I’m old enough to remember when every school day started with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. The “church ladies” came to the school once a month to tell Bible stories. I looked forward to them because it meant time out of class and you got prizes for memorizing Bible verses. Nadine said they stopped starting the day with the pledge of allegiance when she was in high school. That’s sad. Religion I can understand if you have a diverse group. It causes divisions within a closely packed group, but why dispense with the pledge of allegiance? She has no memory of prayer being allowed in school. Even jewelry or t-shirts that pointed toward a particular faith or group alliance were frowned upon. It makes me think of the line in a country song: “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” You can be too rigid in your beliefs, but there is also the danger of being too wishy-washy. I'm concerned by the large numbers of what I would call hedonistic, fluff-balls among young people. As in most things, I imagine it comes down to finding the proper balance.
K*


This message was edited Sep 22, 2011 5:10 PM

mulege, Mexico

Hi Everyone, Sorry I've not been here in a while. I'm in Ca. for the second time in a month.
Had to get new a/c and computer and other stuff. Am back to get cement supplies from a friend who is being evicted from her property. My right shoulder has been messed up; I'm hoping to get an x-ray done while I'm up here. Saw an orthopedic surgeon about my left knee and will probably have knee replacement surgery in about three months. Know anyone in the San Diego area who would like a paying guest for about a month? If so, Dmail me.

Just adopted dog #6 from a friend who is moving and couldn't take the dog. The friend is having a hard time and I was afraid the dog would end up at the dump so I took him. I had to leave the day after I got him but he'd gone from hiding under the van to allowing himself to be led by his leash to the outdoor room where he and the other dogs can see each other but not get at each other.

The trip up to Chula Vista was long due to road repairs along the way. Was averaging 25 miles an hour over long stretches. It makes a 600 mile trip rather long. However, the scenery is beautiful and it was peaceful, just slow.

hugs, katie

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Dog #6???? That's a lot of dogs.

I remember saying the pledge every day,

Midland City, AL

"hedonistic fluff-balls"? I resemble that remark. :-)
Did you fall and hurt your shoulder or something, Kb?
I want to pick up some hyacinth bulbs too, Vickie. Something must have eaten ours. I didn't see one this spring. Are there truly red spider lilies? The ones I have are a sort of dusty rose color. I was wondering if nurserymen just call them "red spider lilies" or if there are some that are actually red. And, no, you can't start decorating for Christmas yet, Vickie. lol. ~N~

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

KB,

We're probably on the same surgery plan. My Dr says left knee replacement soon!

Sheri

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Too Late! Already have one Christmas angel sitting on a table along with a jack-o-lantern and a ceremic turkey. Also have silk fall leaves everywhere.
I have 3 dogs and 3 cats.The dogs follow me to whatever room I am. The cats have to check out if I am ok but never stay except living room.I would miss them badly if they were'nt here. I'm taking lil cricket wih me to family reunion.I don't usually but she's getting old and gets depressed if I'm not around.
Yes the spider lillys are really red. My neighbor has the pink ones and the flowers are a different shape as well as color.
Hedonistic Fluffball? Don't think so.How about upwardly mobile modern young woman.
HUGS Katiebear and Sheri.
I wish i could have been on your trip to California. I 've never spent much time in a desert and it would have been fun. Do you take emergency supplys with you on your trips? DH and i took a trip into southern west Texas once and i had a trunk full of water and food supplys and sure enough our radiater got a leak and we were stuck out in the middle of nowhere for a day. We ended up using my spare water for radiater.Got some good pictures of desert wildflowers. No cellphones either.LOL We did some crazy things in our life.But we had fun. Guess I still do crazy things.I have to make up for not having a childhood.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Vickie, if your family doesn’t keep you too busy and it is still there, I bet you would enjoy visiting the Gardener mansion. It was once the home of the Choctaw leader, Jefferson Gardener, but was turned into a museum for Native artifacts after his death. I know it is somewhere near Broken Bow. Have youbeen there before?
Many in my mother’s family still live around Chickasha, a little town in Grady County. It is in the southern part of the state, but further west than Broken Bow. (I think I’m remembering the geography right. It has been a long time since I could see a map though.
I haven’t been doing much in the garden. We had heavy rains and it has driven all the ants out of hiding. They are upset about their flooded homes and in a biting mood. Jim and I walked the property scattering ant bait. It takes a few days to do its job and, for me, ant bites turn into painful little blisters. All I can do is hide inside and write a new stanza to add to my “I Hate Ants” song.
People are always worried about me stepping on a snake I can’t see. Stepping into an ant mound is of much greater concern to me. Snakes will get out of your way if they have time and an escape route. Ants go on the offensive!
My driver always complained about "road rapture" when we drove through southwest TX. I guess he meant that hypnotic state you can fall into because of the changing, yet unchanging scenery. I got into the habit of asking how fast we were going. Unless he looked at the speedometer our speed would just keep creeping up. k*

Midland City, AL

Cyber hugs from all of us here, Debra. I know this has been a rough weekend for you. (Jim)

(Debra) Garland, TX

It has, yes. Thank you, Jim and Kay and Nadine.

Midland City, AL

Debra, you still have Zuzu to keep you company, right? Since Amargia will be open to the public and Fenny and Tater-dog sometimes take it into their minds they don't like someone, and they are frighteningly open about their dislikes, PJ says we are not getting any more dogs once they are gone. We may get some barn cats, but no more dogs or inside cats since so many people are allergic to cats. I will miss having a dog. Maybe, we can find one of those super friendly dogs who like everyone. Fenny is very sexist. PJ is the only guy she likes and I'm not having much luck teaching her to get along with cats either. ~N~ .

(Debra) Garland, TX

I have Zuzu and Willie. Might get a third dog eventually, but not for awhile. (Hope those aren't 'famous last words'). Russell was the first dog that was all mine. Had a few dogs when we were kids. My former husband had to have a dog and he took her when we divorced (thankfully, because I didn't like that dog much :-). After these three, though, I can't imagine life without at least a couple of pooches running around the house.

Check the breeds, Nadine. Larger dogs are often bred for guarding or watching and you can't train out that territorial or protective instinct. There are a lot of medium sized companion dogs that can get along with everyone. I go for the scruffy mutt look, myself. :-)

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

Check out Carolina Poodle rescue.com....they have about 75% poodles + many many other non-Poo or Poodle mixes (that don't shed!)
That is where I got both Pookie and Harmony..

with adoptions of some distance we usually work out a transport system to get them to their forever homes

Sheri

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Yes, I've been there. There are 3 little museums around there.I've been to.The Red River museum south of Idebel,One in Broken Bow,and one in Boswell. I make it a point to go to everyone i hear about.I love museums.I need a bumper sticker that says "I brake for museums" LOL
Nadene, Could i suggest you guys look into Labs. I've never heard of a mean lab.And the ones I've had were real sweeties. But of course if someone robs your house,They'll help them carry stuff out.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

lol. Yes, Labradors are beginning to outnumber German Shepherds as service dogs. If I ever decided to get another guide dog, it would be a lab. Tate and Fenny are both lab crosses. Unfortunately, they are both crossed with more aggressive breeds. Fenny especially has never socialized well. We think she is part Rot.
Parrot tulips came in today so they will be on their way to you soon, Debra and Sheri. k*

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Busy day. Fall bulbs went in the ground this morning and new daylilies arrived this afternoon. (Thank you very much, Debra!) I had to laugh at what MK did with ‘Brown Witch’. She planted it in a faux caldron. It was originally an oddly wide tire turned inside out. The shaped mimicked the basic shape of a caldron perfectly. After MK attached handles salvaged from an old kettle, it would have even fooled Lady Macbeth.
Loved your plant label solution, Debra. When you mentioned using plastic dinnerware for the purpose, I was imagining white or colored instead of clear. The clear is kinda cool. I’ll have to remember that. We are running out of cut-up blinds and the clear dinnerware isn’t as distracting in the garden. I don’t have enough time to make every label like a piece of artwork that will blend in and sometimes you don’t want to distract from the plant itself. I knew a blind man who used labels made from clear deli containers and clear Braille labeling tape, but I never thought of the clear plastic dinnerware. .
Vickie, did you already snag that catalpa tree? MK put a cutting in the ground when she cut ours down as an experiment to see if it would root and it appears it did. I tugged at it today and there was resistance meaning roots. We don’t want another catalpa, MK was just curious. It is only a few feet tall, but they grow fast. I think the plan was to send you the purple cane in spring. I can put it in that package. BTW, you don’t bring your big containers in for the winter, do you? It took all three of us here to get PJ’s bottle palm inside and it is in a wheeled container. (A former shop vac cut and made into a container.) I will be so-o-o glad when the w/c ramp is finished. It will make a lot of things easier. We had the palm out in the yard and had to get it up stairs. MK made a makeshift ramp out of thick lumber but it was steep. That palm is living on the porch until the ramp is finished!!!
~Nadine~

(Debra) Garland, TX

Nadine, I got confused (no surprise) and sent what I thought was Circle of Life. Still think it is a small separation from it, but I found the original larger fan and will be sending it out Monday. Still have lots and lots to share, so choose away if you all have room for more. Just as easy to mail a full box as it is a singleton. :-)

Midland City, AL

Ooops! There's a lot of that confusion stuff going around. I was tired and posted under MK's user name. It would be simpler if we had only one user name like "Amargians" that we could all use tacking on our names at the beginning of the post. But PJ says when a company offers something you like, that is not offered elsewhere, such as the Accessible Gardening forum you support it in a way that is very apparent to that company, like it's bottom line. :-) Three separate DG subscriptions are still affordable and it seems only fair.
Don't go to any trouble, Debra. We've never met a daylily we didn't like. Some we just like a little better than others. I even like the one called 'Little Wart'. We have a witch now and I think a witch needs a 'Little Wart." lol.
We've been pushing hard the last few days. We all agree a slow day is in order. Getting the remainder of the daylilies in the ground is all that is on our agenda. MK got her newest Horticulture magazine. She will no doubt spend most of the day reading. PJ is getting drunk with his dwarf friends...on World of Warcraft. After you've drank a few tankards of ale on the game, the designers made it so the screen gets blurry and your response time is slower.. It is wild what game designers can do and the ideas they come up with to keep the game a challenge. ~Nadine~


(Debra) Garland, TX

Nadine, are you saying you all would prefer to wait for more daylilies, or saying go on and send more now with the Circle of Life?

Midland City, AL

We will always welcome more daylilies, Debra. Don't cut yourself or anyone else short because of our daylily greed though. :-) If the one you sent isn't a 'Circle of Life' we will still find a place for it. If it is 'CoL, it will multiply quickly. Even though it isn't scented, MK gave that one prime real estate in the front walkway bed. The color of 'Circle of Life' will blend well with the color of the house so it gets to live among her pampered fragrance plants. It won't be one little plant for long.
PJ is responding well to daylily therapy. He spent much of the day outside painting special pots for his new acquisitions and choosing the right place for each. I can't remember the last time he spent that much time outside and didn't complain about it. It was a gorgeous day. Mid-80's with few pesky bugs. Best of all, since he was painting, I didn't have to. PJ is good at painting. It simply isn't work he normally enjoys.
I ate beet greens from the garden today. That was a first for me. ~N~

(Debra) Garland, TX

Nadine, you'd be doing these poor things a favor by taking pity on them and letting them come home to you. The gradually expanding line of containers from either end of the driveway has almost met in the middle. The spreadsheet I sent has daylilies that are extra to what I am keeping fir myself. So please, tell me what you guys like. If already given away, I'll tell you. If not, it will make me happy to share. Already sent boxes to Vicki, Sheri, Barb (mamajack), and Trish Whitinger. Carrie isn't a big daylily person and I can't ship to Katie. Plenty left.

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