Retired and Gardening

Through the years, the gardens in my yard have grown in size and number.  When the weather breaks each spring, I am ready to get out and begin the spring cleanup.  In the past I had to work around rainy weekends.  One of the perks of retirement has been the freedom to work in the garden whenever the urge strikes.


Last spring, a week before retirement, I injured my hand and underwent surgery.  I couldn’t get my hand wet for almost 2 months so gardening was not a good option.  I am the kind of gardener who always has dirt under her fingernails on both hands in spite of wearing gloves and using only one hand!  I forced myself to stay away from the gardens … most of the time. As a result of  neglect, my aggressive perennials began to smother some of my other plants.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to uproot these intruders early and frequently this spring.  Crowd control in my garden is a continual issue since I don’t have the heart to totally eliminate some of these pretty invaders.  My gardening philosophy is simple.  If a plant thrives in my claylike garden filled with tree roots it has earned a place there.  If I try a beautiful plant several times and it dies each time, it doesn’t belong in my garden.  Why fight mother nature?  But if my aggressive tall phlox don’t stop popping up in the middle of my hydrangeas they may lose a spot in my gardens forever!

There was one fortunate gardening result that came from my neglect last year.  I had intended to redo my front beds after retiring.  I have a beautiful old magnolia tree which nicely shaded my hostas, astilbe and ferns for many years.  Unfortunately the higher limbs rested on the roof and the lower limbs attacked my husband when he mowed.  Several years ago, when I was not at home, he helpfully limbed up the tree “so the plants would get more sun.”  Everything suffered, including my husband who listened to me tell the story of his “help” many times.  Once the sun entered the picture another of my aggressive beauties, phystostegia, started taking over. My front garden is the only garden in my yard that I have tried to keep somewhat formal looking, so it needed an extreme makeover.  As retirement gifts from friends and students I received several nice gift certificates which were all to the same local garden center.  I realized I would need to wait a year to spend them.  That was a fortunate situation.  When our sewer backed up in the fall it was determined that we needed to have lateral sewer repair done which entailed bulldozing much of that garden. It would have been very sad to have destroyed several hundred dollars in new plantings.  By the way, the bulldozer didn’t fit under the magnolia tree so now there are a few more limbs missing.

2 responses to “Retired and Gardening

  1. I, too, am enjoying the luxury of gardening at a more leisurely pace in retirement. I’ve also decided that it is no longer wise for me to put in marathon all-day garden work sessions and am opting instead for 2-3 hour stints. I need to create a whole new front garden to go with the new addition that got put on the front of my house last year, but I am treating it as a five-year project, with a manageable amount planned for each year.

  2. I love that tongue in cheek
    everything suffered, including my husband.
    Another garden blogger said her husband helpfully tidied off all the tags from her row of newly planted ???

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