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Southwest Regional Reports

The Joys of Gardening While Aging

Go easy on your body while continuing to do what you love

Sheila is building a container with spineless yucca (Yucca elephantipes, Zones 9–10; top), elephant bush (Portulacaria afra, Zones 9–11; right), coral bells (Heuchera cv., Zones 3–8; left), paddle plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, Zones 9–11; center), and Silver Falls™ dichondra (Dichondra argentea, Zones 10–11; bottom). Photo: Steve Aitken.

We gardeners understand that digging in the dirt makes our soul somehow content, and even though at the end of the day we are often bone-tired, we feel good. Being outside is good for our minds and souls. Physically, the constant movement involved in gardening is an exercise that has become widely respected. We bend, stoop, squat, kneel, grip, and lift over and over again. Unfortunately, as we age these very tasks that have made us so happy over the years can start to make us unhappy when we can no longer perform them up to our own (sometimes critical) standards. It’s not what we can’t do that matters, but how we can keep doing what we love in smarter and less painful ways.

All is not doom and gloom for aging gardeners because there are a few tricks we can employ to continue to make ourselves comfortable…

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