Monday, September 4, 2017

Thoughts from an Aging Gardener

I began this blog in 2008, posting almost daily for about five years. Then something happened. Actually, a lot of things happened and, I posted occasionally until two years ago, when I completely stopped. The stoppage was long overdue; quality of writing and photography fell to embarrassing lows. Concepts and themes were weak or lacking altogether.

While some of my issues were physical: arthritis in my hip, loss of hearing in one ear, and a tremendous deterioration in my vision; there was a bit of burnout. Over ~45 years of gardening, I’d saved up many things I wanted to say but eventually I ran dry, a realization that generated even greater admiration for the many wonderful bloggers that are able to go year after year and remain fresh. To this day I continue to read many of the same blogs that predated 1003 Gardens.

Well, in the interim, I’ve had some surgeries: a hip-replacement, two cataract operations, and a cornea transplant. I’ve learned to accept diminished hearing. I’m beginning to be able to accept the fact that, at 65 post hip surgery, though far from feeble, I am not the physical force I once was. I’m adjusting, I’m afraid rather gracelessly, to the fact that younger gardeners are better suited to the heavy manual labor I used to relish both at the Arboretum, and even in our personal garden. I realize now though, that I do have things to say, so I’m going to take another shot at it!

My intent, though we all know starting in one direction doesn’t guarantee anything, is to weave three threads together. Karen and I have had a house in central Florida for the past 11?! Years. I’ll be retiring there at the end of next year. Karen may go a bit sooner. So, I’ll be talking about letting go of gardens, both my personal garden, and the Asian Collections at the US National Arboretum where I started in 1991 and where I’ve been for the last 10 years or so. I’d also like to address the issues of aging gardens and aging gardeners. I guess there’s a question as to whether my immersion in these circumstances will allow me enough perspective to be helpful, but I’m gonna try. Finally, I realize that, immodest as it may sound, I’m a very good gardener and a more than adequate designer so I’d like to pass on some acquired insights related to interaction of those two disciplines.


mike said...

Glad you're back at it!

Katie M. said...

Looking forward to reading!

Stephanie Fleming said...

Wait! What? Karen is going before you?

Anonymous said...

So glad you are back. I love seeing garden blogs for ideas and inspiration. M