Aging in the garden - How do you plan to garden as the years go by?

(Zone 7a)
There are a total of 87 votes:

I planned so it won't be a problem.
(34 votes, 39%)
Red dot

Help from others, hired or family.
(20 votes, 22%)
Red dot

I'll move to a smaller home with fewer gardens.
(8 votes, 9%)
Red dot

It will be indoor gardening for me.
(5 votes, 5%)
Red dot

I'll visit gardens and appreciate what others have done
(2 votes, 2%)
Red dot

I'm downsizing now to make it easier in the future.
(18 votes, 20%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

Carson City, NV(Zone 6b)

I'm not old enough to worry about this yet but I have watched my in-laws struggle with their small farm and the labor intensive irrigation, mowing, and other chores. They refuse to install and new equipment that would make these chores easier but at the same time they always complain about how they can't keep up with the work. I use many automatic systems, such as drip irrigation on a timer instead of dragging hoses and sprinklers around, so I think it will be easier for me to take care of my garden when I have less energy.

Central, LA(Zone 8b)

I have been converting all the annual plantings to perennials. That will save a lot of energy for later on but there is no way to downsize my gardens so I voted move to a smaller house with smaller gardens. Do you really think this will happen?

Dahlonega, GA

I'm letting the natural woods reclaim some of my plants and will only have perennial things from now on . Maybe keep a hyacinth bean planted every year. I have the want to's but the can't do's are fast taking over .

Kure Beach, NC(Zone 9a)

I'm fine now, but am sure, in the future, I'll be asking friends and others to help. We're not moving and I can't imagine making my gardens smaller.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm downsizing...I think! I keep dividing and sending plants to others and giving to neighbors and the gardens do have fewer plants, and weeds, than ever before. Mulch has been such a blessing to me.

Moving is out! My friend is going through it now and after just cleaning out one bathroom vanity I know it's not the answer for us.

We've hired help in the past and we'd do it again if we could find more willing workers.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I have it planned to be easier as time goes on ,maybe? hope so anyway!!! lol...

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I have a small space and I think it will be just right as I get more chronologically endowed. I keep busy replacing some trees and ornamentals with plants that produce food. Just a pretty face doesn't cut it with me anymore!!!

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

LOL, if ever we needed the "Other" category this would be the time as I just plan on no change except for Dropping Dead right in the middle of it. Then Steve can light a fire and spread the ashes around! Oops, guess that is a plan!

Belle Center, OH(Zone 5a)

I have been shifting the vegetable gardens to lasagna type gardens more and more each year. Most of the flowers around here are bulbs or rhisomes, and I have already started most of the trees and shubbery I want to have. Wolf's Rest Farm will become a more pleasant place year by year as Debbie and I move into our 60s and 70s. And, we have Grandchildren if it comes to that.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I'm already there age wise. All my gardening is now done in containers.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm putting everything on automatic drip systems and building raised beds so I don't have to bend as much and since they're 11" deep, it's easier to turn over the soil as well. I've planted fruit trees that don't get too large, no more than 10'-12', so I don't need a ladder to pick the fruit.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

I voted help. I would love to have a hired hand come out to do the hard work and leave me to do the fun stuff. Digging up plants for example - I have a stand of Joe Pye that I've been meaning to move for 2 years but the root system is like concrete. This year...

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

I have amended the soil so that it works easily. Otherwise I don't cross the bridge until I get to it. It could be easy to just garden a smaller amount.

Calgary, Canada

In planning for the day when physical limitations overcome gardening, my flower beds are going over to perennials and shrubs. The lawn areas are almost gone, and vegetables are grown in containers. I will always do hanging baskets, but perhaps I will get help in hanging them. A long handled weeder is already part of the tool collection.
I will probably invest in a pole pruner.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Voted move to smaller house and less garden, which is nonsense, if I get any house at all it will be larger than where I now reside- same with gardens, but they won't be plowed, I will go raised style- one of these years, kinda suspect I will be the garden ornament as stiff as I seem to be getting-

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)


Need any clothing ideas?

Thumbnail by pirl
Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Like those concrete geese I see in Ohio- raincoat and lil hat my be most useful, hehehe

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i'm not going down without a fight. my plantings are mostly shrubs and perennials and i have sprinklers installed in the important spots.
moving? maybe, but i hope not.
we never really know what the future holds but i'd like to think i'll spend the rest of my days right here in umatilla, puttering around and possibly hiring help when i need it.
it's a depressing thought for such a damp, grey day......

Greensboro, AL

I voted that I had planned ... Heh Heh. My yard is being attacked by invasives. I wish I had planned to have an intact garden to "putter around" in as trackinsand says. gardening keeps you young. And so does learning how to use a chain saw and build hugelkultur beds with the prunings. Shoveling, wheelbarrowing, digging, hauling, loading --- no help here to hire. All "able bodied men" are not mentally able. Hiring help is an invitation to having your tools destroyed, and anything valuable stolen and sold for drug money.

Right track ... Not going down without a fight, but the fight is pretty formidable.

72 and not giving up yet.

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)


Maybe you could be like a tin woodman/woman. Keep the oil can handy.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Have to find the right oil- they just don't make that particular grade. It's kinda like my checkbook- timing it out to the last bit of action, hehehe.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm with Steadycam3,
"I have a small space and I think it will be just right as I get more chronologically endowed."

And, now that I've read ya'lls posts, I know I need to start planting perennials and shrubs! My slate is pretty blank now, so I have time to do it right the first time!

Well said, Steadycam3 -- I'm not trying to waste much water or time on anything that doesn't produce food. Just a pretty face doesn't cut it with me either!!!

But, I've got quite a few great years ahead, so I guess I"ll have some of those pretty flowers to look at before it's over, God willing!


(Zone 9a)

Pirl, where did you get that picture of me??? LOL

I am not downsizing as much as I am refining what I have. Rather than having to have one of everything myself, I am using some discipline and enjoying those plants in public or other gardens. Like Pirl says, mulch is wonderful, I am using a lot of it. I used to want every inch covered with flowering plants and now I am concentrating more on shape and texture with some space between. The UPS guy just brought 100 dwarf mondo grass plugs - they look as pretty as grass but there is never any mowing. All the container plants are on drip irrigation but I am even cutting back on them. The fewer plants I have to worry about, the more I enjoy the remaining ones. For more years than I care to admit the garden owned me but I like it better now.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Ha! I'm not telling!

I agree with your thought that the owned me but now I'm enjoying it more.

If it's of any consolation to anyone reading this thread, the real PIRL was my former neighbor in a former home and she taught me to garden. She gardened until she was 88 and then arthritis got her back and legs. Then she gardened with a long handled weed puller and I did the planting for her. By 95 she had to give up. She only died at 102 so there is hope for all of us.

Here's the real PIRL, Pauline Isabelle Reid Loeffler, at 90 years old.

Thumbnail by pirl
mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

ok, i have to step in here. just when, may i ask, did ardesia become "the owner" of her garden? lol those plants own you still- lock, stock and barrel! lol i think i hear some wishful thinking in that post.......wonder what phil would think of your comment...roflol

don't mind me, i'm slap happy from overwork.......

i've always wondered what the real pirl looked like! thanks for sharing that picture and also for the story behind the name. i knew it but i didn't realize she lived to such a ripe old age and was still gardening almost to the end.

there is hope for us all!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I voted for planned.

I plan to die with my favorite trowel in my hand.

Talihina, OK

i am 76 yrs and very close to the next brackett and every yeay I take on more and more gardening jobs as long as I can get up and out gardening is what I want to do ..Now about them perrinials some of them are fine but truly the annuals are not any more work for me as I live in Southeastern Oklahoma which is bermuda grass central and left alone it will choke any and all other plants to death so i think for me a nice blend of the two is best i have avery extensive collection of Day Lillies and they are the least labor intensive plant I have but on the other hand the bloom period is very short But I hope when my time is up they will have pry my cold dead fingers from around my favorite hoe LLOL

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Love all these posts. It makes me feel like there is hope for old heifers like me...

At 62, my plan is less grass equaling less maintenance, more raised beds and containers and more plants.... HALPPPP! If I ever should move, the containers can travel with me.

Can't die any time soon, there are too many plants I haven't grown yet.

Pirl ~ I love the scarecrowess and the true Pirl story. I hadn't heard that before and it is deeply touching. Thanks!

editing to add, I didn't vote as there wasn't a none of the above or all of the above choice.

This message was edited Nov 28, 2012 8:41 PM

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Kristi - you are one of the young'uns!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks but it doesn't feel like that somedays... lol

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Kristi and trackinsand: Mrs.Loeffler was a real gem and it was my privilege and honor to know her for so many years. I met her the day we moved into the Tudor and to the right was her 60 x 100 (typical for much of the northeast) lot, then her lovely Colonial home. Three years later my own mother died so Mrs. Loeffler became my "other mother". We'd have her over for Mother's Day and many times throughout the year.

She was (and always will be) the only person I've known who had lived in three centuries! She was born and raised in Albemarle, NC and became the social editor of her local paper. Every story seemed to end with, "...and a good time was had by all". All of her stories about growing up in the South, the slaughtering of pigs when she and her mother would go to town to avoid hearing the squealing of the pigs, her uncle who was in the Civil War, etc. were so entertaining

She loved visiting us out here and enjoying all the flowers and loved the vegetable garden.

Time changes everything and not always for the better. Her son suffered a stroke the night before the memorial service for Mrs. Loeffler and he died 25 days after her own death so the home was sold and the buyers had Mrs. Loeffler's home razed to put up a gigantic 4,000 square foot home. I do not go back to see the changes! I have so many wonderful memories of PIRL and they all make me smile.

Greensboro, AL

Pirl. Enjoyed your Real Pirl story. She doesn't look 90. But then Ive noticed around here that country women who work hard in their gardens do look beautiful their whole lives. You would recognize them from their high school photographs. As for the others--age can make everyone look alike.

(Zone 9a)

LOL Debi, you are so right but I am working at getting better. I am hitting those Wax Myrtles with gallons of RU and I'm ridding myself of the many, many pots of things I really didn't need in the first place. I do have those 100 dwarf mondos to plant this morning, that won't be fun but down the road I'll be glad I planted some no maintenance material for a change.

Pirl, your friend's name is so familiar to me I am going to have to look in my mother's old address book. I know she knew some Loefflers.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Gloria.

Ardesia - I'd be very interested in knowing the results of your search. Mrs. L. did have a sister-in-law by the name of Lulu Loeffler. We always chuckled over her name.

Dahlonega, GA

Grits , I had you pictured in my mind as much younger . I'm right behind you .

Talihina, OK

digger In my mind i am alot younger My Mother died at 86 while picking pears while on a ladder

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Oh my, grits!

Re the survey, all of the above have occurred to me, and I might try to do some of all of them, but I will like many others just go the 'haighr' way!
After all is said and done, I think a garden is a reason to keep going!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I like that ~ the Haighr way... always thought I'd be cremated and have my ashes spread in a gorgeous flower garden where I'd love to spend my days.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Take it from Pirl's real Pirl picture. Gardening keeps you young.

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