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I wish...........

I'm female. I'm sixty. My days of working in the garden from 9 in the morning to six at night, then going in and making my tea, are over. I do a few hours every day and that is enough. My years of experience count for nothing when sheer brute muscle is needed to humph bags of compost or chipped bark around. I wish I was more like the TV gardeners - whose watering cans are always full and at hand, whose watering hose is always the right length and never twisted or caught in plants and never tripped over, who always have the right tool for the job and never try to dig a biggish hole with a trowel because getting the spade out of the garage is just too much like hard work!

I love my garden but each year the jobs just seem to get harder and longer to do and each year I feel as though I could have done better. I have given up cutting my hedges and get someone in to do them now. But the rest of the work is up to me. This year I am making a concentrated effort to get more late flowering summer perennials planted to take my garden screaming and kicking into autumn.

Has anyone got any words of wisdom to make my gardening life easier? I have a cottage style garden with lawn so lots of cutting back and clearing up required.


'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller


  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    Use wheels as much as possible - as in wheelbarrow or sack truck for moving bags of compost.  A light weight electric mower.  A small shed in the garden to keep the most used tools.  Curly wirly hosepipe for watering instead of carrying watering cans.  Seats placed strategically for a rest now and again and to admire your hard work.  imageimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,415

    get some of the garden covered with some large shrubs that need little attention and you can concentrate on the rest.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Scott EdwardsScott Edwards Posts: 227

    Don't believe everything always goes perfectly for the professionals. I wonder just how many times the editor has to say cut or another chocolate biscuit is nibbled whilst the hose pipe is de-knotted. One of my favourite moments in Gardener's World was when Monty Don fell in the pond and if I remember correctly Joe Swift nearly wet himself laughing.

    As far as reducing the workload in the garden, I watched Alan Titchmarsh's 'How to be a Gardener' programme on u-tube where he created a low maintenance garden using conifers. I thought it might look like a cemetery at the beginning but because he include some shrubs and perennials, rather than heathers which are often planted alongside conifers, it looked impressive.

    I agree with Verdun that Hardy Geraniums can cover a lot of ground, reduce on the amount of weeding you need to do and not require too much work during the season.

    Because I have a busy job as a vicar working evenings as well as during the day, I have used a lot of grasses with late flower perennials in my largest border to reduce the workload.

    Finally, if you are able to do so get a gardener in to do some of the heavier work such as cutting the hedges and the grass and spend those precious few hours you can doing the things you enjoy. And maybe, having a little less energy may mean you can now do what most of us gardeners struggle to do, which is sit back and enjoy your garden.  The idea of having a few more seats dotted about the garden sounds good to me.

  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    bless you, i' a few years behind you but extreme sleep deprivation and post natal arthritis make me feel very much for you, little and often, and i highly recommend a bit of yoga for strength ad flexibility

  • Rio KnightRio Knight Posts: 26
    One of the advantages of the current job crisis is that you can get a couple of hours labour for next to nothing. Maybe having some young man lugging stuff about and weeding boarders with his top off could be of use to you now and again. image
  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    or get in touch with a local horticultural college see if they want to use your garden for educational purposes

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,857

    I'm a girl a couple of years ahead of you, and while I used to be as strong as an ox and could pitch a bale and wrangle a ram, something seems to have happened over the past few years image

    I had such plans for the garden when I moved here and retired ............. then a series of injuries (back and knee) got in the way image

    However, I am learning not to charge at things like a bull in  a china shop - I am doing what I used to have to do at work, and prioritise - I plan my campaign and work out what must be done now and what can wait - and I sit on the garden benches a lot and look at it all and enjoy it image


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Forester2Forester2 Posts: 1,477

    I agree with Rosemummy regarding the yoga.  If you can get to a class near you, you will benefit greatly, as it keeps you supple as gardening requires bending down a lot.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,794

    Hogweed, you sound like me too. I'm 62 and have about an acre. But I do have an OH who cuts the grass. I saw your post last night before there was an answer, but I was just too tired and went to bed!

    I've started using permeable weed suppressant fabric covered with bark chippings, which has cut down the weeding in 2 beds, one of which is just shrubs and lavender.  Don't say anything, Verdun, I know you hate it! I use a different sort of fabric in the veggie garden, pinned down with big staple things for plants like tomatoes and courgettes, even onion sets (I cut holes in it). But I have a lot of flower borders with mostly perennials, which I never quite keep on top of with the weeding. I weed kneeling on a mat and knees are getting stiff!

    Good luck!

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
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