Deb gave me some Border's gift cards since they were going out of business and even though I had to sort through the dregs and settle for whatever looked OK, I found four new books at 70% off. I read through one of them, Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older by Sydney Eddison, this weekend as I came home sick from Ohio. Keep in mind that in true gardener style Sydney is talking being older as meaning being 80ish : ) However, her tips and ideas are useful and wiser for anyone who does not have the time and energy to really get out and garden as a primary activity. The basic idea is to focus on easy to no care shrubs, underplanted with a no care ground covers interspersed with hardy bulbs, and protected with a good layer of mulch. She warns against the labor intensive self sowing annuals and too many perennials. I do have next to no care perennials, but the typical sunny perennial border needs quite a bit of upkeep.
Mrs. Eddison reached the older stage of gardening only after 50 years in the same four acres, the death of her husband, and a hip replacement among other physical ills. I found it interesting that she talks about the overwhelmingness of work as being not her beloved garden, for which she now needs a few hours help each week, but the paperwork formerly handled by her husband. Her solution was to hire someone to come in once a week and deal with bills and mail and office supplies and all that other work of that type. She does say it took someone else to help her learn to prioritize and plan before she could get both the garden and home in order. However, I think it fairly genius to decide to continue in her home gardening as best as able and pay someone else to do the part that was so distasteful. I pretty much read straight through this book, stopping to add to my paperbackswap wish list as other books were suggested. I will need to read it again, but right now I am challenged with several thoughts. One, what are the areas of work I would be happier paying someone else to do once I am in a situation where I cannot do it all myself, two, what are other shrubs to add to my garden to begin a process of less labor with equal enjoyment, and three, I need to add more unique perennials while I am in the prime gardening years. : )