I read this book last spring while I was recovering from cancer treatment. I was familiar with Ms Eddison's writing, so knew I would enjoy her voice and I was preoccupied with wether I would be able to keep gardening as intensively as I had, so I thought her book would offer useful insight. I am only fifty and I am almost back to full energy. However, this book continues to resonate with me. I have decided to change the nature of my gardening, at least for a little while and use the time gained for other things. I think I will have an even more beautiful, well cared for garden because of this, still have the fulfillment of nurturing the plants and working outdoors, and decrease the anxiety of feeling over extended and not able to care for everything in the way I would like. I highly recommend this book for its intelligent gentleness regarding these issues. It has helped me greatly.
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it made me sad as it forced me to think about two things I dread: the prospect of getting older and being able to do less despite greater knowledge and experience in gardening, and the grief from losing gardening partner/friends. On the other hand, it provided countless suggestions to work around those grim realities. For example, 1) thin out daylily gardens, thus reducing the time spent deadheading, 2) get rid of lawn to eliminate mowing and equipment maintenance tasks, 3) plant groundcovers to reduce time spent weeding, 4) plant more bulbs.
Not all suggestions apply to all aging gardeners, and Mrs. Eddison cleverly shares various examples of how friends dealt with gardening in their later years.
I believe Mrs. Eddison was in her late 70s when writing this book and I'm not as old yet, but I feel fortunate to have found this book now as perhaps I can have an early start with successful, low maintenance gardening.