Seniors: keep gardening!

Seniors: keep gardening!

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New seniors are still very active and dynamic, often passionate about their garden ... Finally time to devote to it! But from the start of retirement, it is important to rethink the space so that you can enjoy it for a long time. Mowing the lawn, watering the flowers, sowing and harvesting vegetables and fruits, beautifying and renovating the outdoors ... Gardening is an exciting and very addictive pastime! Even if they then have more time, retirees have less physical energy to garden. So to keep this leisure, outdoor spaces require special arrangements from retirement, and the purchase of suitable tools will also facilitate various activities.

Reduce the surface and simplify your life

The "easy to live" garden for all is a big current trend, and it is even more topical for seniors. First, opt for almost maintenance-free plants such as ground cover (asaret, Christmas fern, etc.), perennials (sedum, echinacea, coreopsis), bushes of the winged charcoal type, hydrangea; small trees like dogwood, lilac from India ... And treat yourself with, in addition, plants in pots and planters, here and there. Finally, to avoid having to carry heavy watering cans, install an easy irrigation and watering system, for example an automated drip or a hose on an unwinding cart, or even a 'gun'.

Long live the squares!

The other big trend in recent years has been vegetable plots, a concept also called 'French raised vegetable patch'. Perfectly suited to seniors, it makes it possible to reduce the surface area of ​​the vegetable patch and facilitate harvesting. Their creator, Anne-Marie Nageleisen, developed this organized gardening method 8 years ago. "I just created this technique for my father, in a wheelchair, she explains. It applies today to everyone, young and old, able-bodied or dependent. This vegetable garden is particularly interesting for people old people, forced to reduce the surface of their garden to adapt it to their physical possibilities. It will happen to all of us! When we are no longer able to maintain everything, we will then be happy to be able to continue to live our garden differently. An arrangement that allows you to keep the real pleasure of gardening and real harvests with vegetables just in sufficient quantity and in a variety of ways, weeding, the arduousness of working the soil and back pain less.
Easy to install, just form the square with untreated wood planks assembled with angle brackets, on the floor. Do not use plastic (unless you install it on a terrace, a double bottom will then be necessary to avoid the flow of water). "The square vegetable patch is just wood and soil, explains Anne-Marie Nageleisen. Fill it with real soil from the garden and not with soil (which must be changed every 3 years) and then with a layer compost on the surface. " It then remains to organize your crops inside in the 40 cm squares (dimension which allows to optimize the space by having real harvests - a smaller square prevents the good growth of the elements, and larger, we lose the place). In each square, a vegetable, an aromatic herb or an edible flower: the square is suitable for nearly 100 plants.

Other containers: also in height!

Planters on feet, in natural wood or colored metal, invade garden centers (Truffaut, Botanic, Jardiland) and are also suitable for gardening for seniors (like young children elsewhere or any gardener wishing to spare his back!) In apartments as in the pavilion. In the same vein, since 2011, Verdurable offers ergonomic tools rewarded in 2012 with trophies of the Great Age. The French brand offers a full range of garden devices to be integrated into an indoor or outdoor space, modular to be able to beak, rake and plant each at its height. The trays are even easily movable from one room to another, thanks to their casters, and their upper part is made of metal and HDPE plastic. Adapted to all kinds of plants, their depth is 13 to 33 cm: perfect for strawberries, salads, aromatic herbs, cherry tomatoes, green peas ... and for some taller plants at the back. And why not some aquatic plants and fish? A superb therapy to revive the five senses in the elderly!

Facilitate the passage

If you plan several vegetable plots, or some other configuration of the garden version ornamental garden, also think of the paths that separate the different spaces. It will undoubtedly be necessary to resize them, quite wide (about 80 cm) and passable. Have them made either of cement or wood, or even simply grass, to circulate well on foot, with a cane or even in a wheelchair.

Adapted tools

Gardeners today are spoiled for choice in terms of garden tools, thanks to wide ranges and thanks to various styles. For seniors, we obviously opt for quality equipment, light, ergonomic, or even with telescopic sleeves when necessary. In the cupboard, spades and other forks, heavy and difficult to use, replace them with small tools that will allow them to pass through the squares. The trick: provide a basket by hand containing 4 to 5 tools to carry everywhere. And there are even tools specially adapted for 'senior citizens' with armbands, side handle, forearm support ... We also like garden devils who can make your job easier. For tillage, think of a kneeling stool ... or stop this task squarely, to favor tools like Biogrif and Rotogrif from Fiskars-Leborgne, weed killers suitable for natural gardening and which also protect the back. Finally, there are also pruning shears designed to reduce stress and fatigue. It's about "knowing how to take advantage of innovations and adapt your tools to your physical possibilities", as Patty Cassidy writes in her specialized work.

Tips from Patty Cassidy, author of Practical and illustrated guide to gardening for seniors

For Patty Cassidy, it is more fun and less tiring to "garden with others" and "seek the help of those around you, a gardening coach or a landscaper": solutions to "improve the practice and reduce workload ". His book also brings us to reflect on the type of garden that we want to set up in retirement, on the very meaning of the word 'garden' for oneself, once mature: flower garden, vegetable garden, fragrant garden or taste, garden orchard, herb garden ... Thanks to his suggestions and his models, it will be "possible to garden until 70, 80 or even 90 years" and beyond! Learn more: - Retirees from the Paris region will be able to register for the start of the 2014 school year for the training in vegetable plots offered by Anne-Marie Nageleisen, at the Potager du Roi in Versailles. - Anne-Marie Nageleisen also launches training in the provinces "Squares in my corner" for groups, for one to two days. More information on // - Site of the company Verdurable. To read :
- The practical and illustrated guide to gardening for seniors - to maintain a beautiful garden easily and safely. Patty Cassidy, Delachaux and Niestlé editions, 22 x 22 cm, 256 pages, € 25.90. General advice for the garden, on seedlings, plants, types of flowers, tools (in detail) ... essential advice for seniors of course, but also for everyone! - The practical guide to the vegetable patch, Anne-Marie Nageleisen, Ullmer editions, 168 pages, € 20.20.