Gardening and Your Health

Much has been written on this subject all of the Internet and in books. I’ll just share a few ideas of what I’ve done over the years-PLAN FOR THE FUTURE. When you find out that you have a certain disease of condition, this doesn’t always mean you have to give up gardening or whatever it is that you love doing. It does mean that you have to sit down and think about HOW and WHAT you will do.

It’s helpful to make a 2-column list for yourself. On one side you can list what you do now and on the other side list what you will NOT be able to do later. For example, I found out definitely at age 29 that what I was experiencing since my late teens was indeed arthritis. It was evident on the x-rays that spurs of my back indicated osteoarthritis.

This was in the late 1970’s and I started planning for the future as much as possible. The first things that I did in the 1980’s was –WHEELS. Yes, wheels on everything. I still do this here. Don’t lift it, but pull or push it. I got a plastic trash can with wheels on first then carts, wagons, etc. Be on the lookout for books and information on gardening, handicapped gardening, etc.

In planning the garden design at my homes, I planned on smooth surfaces around the house, no steps, and ease of maintenance. In 1996 we moved to our current home and I designed the brick walkways for walker and wheelchair use all around the house. Now that I am in my 60’s and use a walker, I am glad that I did. Our one corgi also has a walker (cart) with 4 wheels and is pulled around on this walk, too.

Here is one of the useful things that I found in 2001 from the Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech website. (Each state has one at a college or university and they share a wealth of usually free info.) The title of this downloadable, 2-page PDF is:
GARDENING FOR HEALTH: ARTHRITIS PUBLICATION NO.426-062 (It’s useful for other health problems, too!)

Whatever kind of health that you have, it is important not to give up, to live your life doing the things you want, and as much as possible.

Brick walkways make life much easier for us!

Brick walkways make life much easier for us!

Garden tools in the basket under my walker seat.

Garden tools in the basket under my walker seat.

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Early Spring Garden Work


NOTE: see my last post on this table…

Here are some pictures to show the grass starting to grow through the burlap and the 2’ x 4’ vegetable table. So far, they both have endured heavy rains, winds, high and low temperatures. We covered the vegetable table to prevent the seeds from washing away. Tonight there are supposed to be heavy thunderstorms and we covered it again so the small seedlings will get the water but not be lost.

Those are the things that set us back in the garden every year. I’ve a new Canon camera for business to replace the old digital used for all the pictures since 2002. The new ones are like the latest printers and Wi-Fi capable. Since most of us use the cloud now, it’s the way to go.

The first pictures are from March and then the April pictures were taken yesterday…
March garden002





Now the April pictures were taken on a day of 80 degrees, with all the umbrellas, chaise, pillows…WAIT! We are supposed to be working! The chaise sure was nice, though…

2014-04-13 01.15.01

Emily does the nice weather right! Why work?

Emily does the nice weather right! Why work?

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Spring is Here!

March 26th, 2014
We can’t be too sure with the wildly fluctuating weather recently but the calendar says it is…

That said, tomorrow may be in the low sixties and I’ll plant some cold weather veggies in the new veggie table. I can’t wait to see how that works. It’s away from the rabbits and the fur kids can’t steal them either. They aren’t too happy about that.
We planted the first 12’ by 12’ area of grass. Instead of losing the seed to the birds and washing away, we are trying a new technique. The area is covered with burlap and landscape pins are holding the edges down. This is also a good way to keep it moist. Since we lost all the grass to a drought in NJ in 2009-2010, we tried reseeding it several times. Already the new grass is starting to grow through it.
There are different ways to do this. One is by removing the burlap after it comes up. The other way is to leave it on to decompose over time. Removing it also removes some of the seedlings so we are leaving it on. It is a natural burlap and untreated with any chemicals. I hope to do section two this week. The other problem is the high winds in the spring and then the heat is May.
We are determined not to lose it this year.

I have pictures of the new veggie table and burlapped lawn area. The very next day after this was put in, it snowed about 2 inches. Winter will just not let go!

I’ll be getting a new digital camera the week of April 10th then I hope my photos will be better. This one is a digital from 2000 and not up to standards now…Everything changes all the time.

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Failure to See Beyond the Snow

I’ve failed. Yep, a true-blue gardener threw in the trowel this year already. But Alas! All is not lost…

Too much cold and snow that not even 3 months of gardening magazines and catalogs put a dent into my winter blues this year. I think that Glenn feels the same way. We just have not shown interest in doing any planning or even ordering the garden things yet.

There is a hope of a ray of a little light today. The news is that on Sunday, March 9th, we SPRING FORWARD with the time. Already? I mean it’s too early for that, isn’t it? That means with longer days we will have to get growing again. Luckily, despite being very ill yesterday, I do feel just a little twinge to get outside.

What happened was that I slipped and fell backwards on the ice 2 weeks ago. I fell directly on the small of my back and hurt it more, I think, along with my neck. I’ll talk to the doctor again in a couple of weeks but have not fully recovered from that. There is still ice all over the driveway but I have not gone out since before the last storm. Once “ice capade” is enough.

Well, I do have a new plan for the small veggies. I’ve been thinking the past 3-4 years of ending the bending over in the 8-square plots for the small veggies. Instead I finally found a gardening table that is sturdy and large, within reason as cost. It’s for people like me who can’t garden much or who want to keep the varmints out of the veggies.

The size is 48” long x 30” high x 24” wide. That’s about have the width of one of the 8-squares. I plan to put it on part of the walk/patio in back so that the sun hits it. It will be high enough that my tall chair or walker/seat can go under it, too. It’s made of Western red cedar and should last a while.
I think that the lettuce, carrots, etc. will be great there as it is closer to the kitchen. In the 8-squares then I can plant the taller veggies such as the usual tomatoes, peas, peppers, corn, bok choy, leeks, and anything higher. No more bending too much to weed around radishes and carrots.
I have a little seat with wheels that I use indoors and outdoors that is a little higher that 12” off the ground. That gives me the seat I need to use the short tools in the plots. Since the veggie garden is all bricks (thanks to Glenn!) it is a boon to my handicapped gardening.

Best of all, Emily has a walker, too, now and she can go all around the garden she loves easily. In fact, Glenn shoveled the snow off the walks in that garden much of this winter just for her!

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History of The Three Bells

It was the 1960’s in recent news and John F. Kennedy’s Assassination that was remembered after 50 years. They asked in the paper again, as before, where we were when we heard the news. Everyone that was alive at the time does remember. For me, in 1963, I was in 10th grade and specifically in gym class at that moment…

Then thinking about the sixties, most of it can just be forgotten, there were riots, protests, and the Vietnam War… “Turbulent 6o’s” as they say.

BUT- there were some good moments, too, and they come to mind thinking about that era in my life. Although I started losing my hearing at age 15, I could still hear and play music. I couldn’t get all the words but enough along with the tune and others would fill in the words to all the lyrics.

Now I am nearly completely deaf and the only songs and tunes that I know are those from before my loss and from the 1960’s. It’s only now with the Internet, that when these tunes come to mind, I can look up some of the lyrics or the title and find out the rest. Tonight, it was THE THREE BELLS from the mid-1960’s sung by The Browns and TOP on the Country and Pop Charts then, as well as, in 1959 when it came out. In fact, it is all over the world now and still sells.

The history of this song is impressive and starts with WWII, in France, and under a different name.

One of the singers, Maxine Brown, in the group wrote this story on her website, which is more comprehensive and beautiful:

The amazing thing is that the song is about each person’s life. The “Jimmy Brown” is not really a point of it, but each of us, and as the singer said,
“Every important stage of one person’s life is tied to a church bell in this beautiful Alpine valley.”

Unlike songs of today, those back then did have more meaningful words anyway…
BTW- The Browns still perform at the Grand Olde Opry in TN and some have said they sound even better now. But you be the judge…I found these on YouTube of the 1965 performance and of a more recent one.

1965 The Browns

Recent performance by The Browns

I close with the lyrics:

From Classic Country – Three Bells Lyrics

There’s a village hidden deep in the valley among the pine trees half forlorn
And there on a sunny morning little Jimmy Brown was born
All the chapel bells were ringing in the little valley town
And the songs that they were singing was for baby Jimmy Brown
And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation bless this hour of meditation guide him with eternal love

There’s a village hidden deep in the valley beneath the mountains high above
And there twenty years thereafter Jimmy was to meet his love
All the chapel bells were ringing t’was a great day in his life
For the songs that they were singing was for Jimmy and his wife
And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation bless oh Lord this celebration
May their lives be filled with love

From the village hidden deep in the valley one rainy morning dark and grey
A soul which wait in the heaven Jimmy Brown had passed away
Just the lonely bell was ringing in the little valley town
T’was there well it was singing to our good old Jimmy Brown
And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation may his soul find this salvation of Thy great eternal love.

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Fall Colors in Our Gardens

IMG_1301fall veg

We designed the gardens to have 4 season interest in plants viewed from the house. This is the English Landscaping Method. Different types of plants and views are done in this manner with very little seen from the roadway. Initially, it is more work and cost but in the long run, less cost and work with selective maintenance.

What this means is that as we age there is less to do and less expense. If we feel like doing more, fine, otherwise it is a ‘controlled natural landscape’. For example, some things look better pruned back somewhat; however, if we can’t do it for some reason, it doesn’t look that out of place.

You can see it here in some pictures; the remaining pictures will be put on my website at (CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE.):

Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your own gardens.






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Philadelphia Flower Show 2013

The Theme this year was “Brilliant!” and all about Great Britain. I have some examples of ideas and photos but they are a difficult for me to get them all up here. I will post them on my website later; however, there are a few to share now.

In the Children’s Garden was some interesting items. The first was the Wheelbarrow Sculpture.

Them there were 2 great walls of veggies in what looked like pallets.



Each time we’ve been, the lighting was dark. This time there was too much and the pictures came out worse! Click on them to enlarge.

Then there were these “shrubs” made from old garden hoses, old plumbing, and old tires…different and unusual.




This is why I go…


PFS_ANOTHER REASON I COME_huge floral displays



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