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Tuesday, October 08, 2019


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I hear you. I was not as careful as you when planning (wait, that's the problem, there was no real planning!) my garden. I have been adding more structure as things die or change, and am trying to think more about long term maintenance. Thanks for being real!

Linda Brazill

I told Mark that if it were possible to get big equipment into the back, I would add more rocks. No maintenance needed. Alas, with stone paths and gates that will never happen. 

Barbara H.

Oh Linda, I loved this post! Well, I love all your posts but as you conjectured it's one I can really relate to and need to heed. I have been transitioning already but there's much to do. At least our summer is finally ending so there's hope for getting busy out there again.

Kris P

I've been confronting that issue more pointedly in the past year myself as arthritis limits what I can do and health problems continue to plague my husband (who's always been my muscle). It's one of the biggest questions I have regarding what, if anything, I should do with the upper portion of our back slope - the ivy may get scorched and ugly after every major heatwave but it grows back and could be kept under control with a 2x a year hacking by the garden service that maintains our hedges. I already bring a tree service (led by an arborist) in annually to advise and guide trimming by his crew. As my friends keep telling me, getting older isn't for the faint of heart.

Linda Brazill

It still amazes me that I have trouble making decisions based on my current age (72) and that nothing is likely to get easier in the future. Mark did a lot of work in the garden for years, but now has a lot of other projects he's interested in and I can't really complain. I just bought a number of shrubs on sale and stuck them in temporary spots until spring when I will try to make some realistic changes in the garden. Exactly what they will be I am still unsure about. 

Jane Miller

Very timely as I go through the process of putting my small yard to bed for the winter and move my numerous pots and well-loved garden accessories into the garage for the winter. It’s good exercise and keeps me going, as long as I remember to take my ibuprofen before I start working rather than later. I love the change of seasons and taking a break from concentrating on the outside. Of course my moonflower vine and coleus are amazing right now, so hard to think of their upcoming demise. Hard to imagine that one day we will have to give this up.


This is very timely for me - things I need to think about this fall!

Years ago there was a wonderful article in Fine Gardening about a couple planning and making gardening adjustments to accommodate aging in place - it tracked several years of changes and the then-current pictures were lovely. Having said that, I am considering some path widening and removal of some convenient for toe stubbing rock edgings that were muscled in long ago and that have tripped me just this summer. Having professional advice is a good idea.


Lisa at Greenbow

Ahh yes, the age factor. I have been moving in more ground covers and plants that don't take so much muscle or management too. I am trying to see this in a positive manner. Yes, I like it. It is a different mind set. What is not to like about gardening?

Linda Brazill

I think your statement, "What is not to like about gardening?," is the perfect way to be thinking about this.

Linda Brazill

I like the feel of narrow, intimate paths and Mark likes them wider. Widening some paths may be a solution to lower maintenance that could be reasonably easy. We have one spot where I am thinking about taking out the path completely and letting two gardens combine. Mostly ground covers and ferns so it should be fairly easy to let things fill in on their own. I spent a lot of time this summer pulling out things that were filling in the path so I can just let it go in the future!

Linda Brazill

Do you look at "Danger Garden" blog? She has a massive amount of plants that she moves into her basement each winter with grow lights etc. I am always impressed and overwhelmed watching her do this via her blog. When I think of my garden on Spaight St. I know that those lots are the right size for an aging gardener, even if it was too small for us once upon a time. 

Loree / danger garden

How many trees do you have? I feel certain you must have mentioned it at some point but I can't recall. As some one who does a twice yearly major over haul/shift in her garden (pots in and out) I know this can't last forever. Especially since the collection continues to expand and I continue to get older.

Linda Brazill

i recently went to a friend's garden for a talk on her trees and shrubs and I guessed she had more than we did; even though her lot is smaller it was packed. So I went home and counted.

We have 59 trees we've planted plus about a dozen of the original trees that were here when we bought the house. We also have about 159 shrubs which includes lots of boxwoods (11 of them are the Morris Midget variety), yews and assorted others. We have three shrub hedges which is where most of them are growing.


59 trees and 159 shrubs.....
I feel humbled especially since I've been considering my garden to be more work than I prefer as well!
Groundcovers and a less maintained style is what I'm aiming for. It sounds like that's where you're going as well, but I still have my weakness for tropicals which I need to contend with. Fortunately it's still a lot of fun, but last year's endless weeding and mowing was not. (hence the more groundcovers!)


I love these ideas. You're right, they aren't novel, but they are necessary and something I should be doing more of myself. I love that the idea is to plant more (groundcovers, shrubs, etc.), not rip it out and plant grass, as I'm certain a less-skilled designer may have suggested. From a personal standpoint, I'm a bit disappointed that you won't be doing a lot of autumn plant shopping. As you know, I use your experience with plants as my guide for what I need next.

Linda Brazill

I did in fact order some things from Klehm's at the end of Sept. which I will write about next week. And I got some plants that weren't shipped until late September from Hillside Nursery. I should write about them as well. Frankly, I think I went a bit bonkers this year on ordering interesting plants and shrubs without much of a plan. I need to spend the winter figuring out what I am going to do with them and what changes we should make. 

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