It’s easy to see why millions are passionate gardeners: working in nature enriches the mind, body and spirit. Moving into a retirement residence does not mean you have to give up gardening — in fact, Amica residents garden in ways they never imagined they would.
Amica residences offer many opportunities to hone your green thumb. Some buildings have a greenhouse or solarium on site, and nearly every location has a designated green space. Many Amica buildings have communal raised beds, and don’t underestimate what can be planted in a pot on a balcony. Our residents have grown everything from geraniums to tomatoes in planters. Additionally, activities such as flower arranging, dried flower preserving, and herb planting are mainstays in many Amica residences. And why not bring nature indoors? Houseplants are always welcome.
We asked some expert green thumbs — seniors living at two beautifully landscaped Amica residences in Ontario for gardening tips on how to make this pastime a pleasure through the ages.
Plant perennials — think hostas, ferns and poppies — that re-appear every year. You’ll save money and time, since you don’t have to dig new holes each spring.
Choose low-maintenance perennials that don’t require much care, such as lilies and periwinkle, which spread nicely.
Deadhead to grow bigger plants faster. Remove spent blooms when the flowers turn yellow or shrivel. For plants like pansies and geraniums, run your fingers down to the base of the stem and pinch it off. If you leave spikes on the plant, it will start to produce seeds and die off.
Enrich the soil with sheep manure and peat moss and your plants will grow profusely.
Try shrubs such as firebush, forsythia, bridal wreath and spirea. Shrubs are low maintenance yet still produce nice flowers.
Read plant labels so plants flourish without extra work: don’t hide a sun-loving plant in the shade or expose a shade-loving plant to full sun.
Water wisely. Too much or too little and your garden won’t thrive. Find out what your plants require by asking at the nursery or reading gardening books. Most plants need a good soak, then leave them until the soil dries out.
Use a hose with a sprinkling attachment instead of lugging heavy watering cans.
Try a three-prong cultivator in a city garden. This garden tool lets you loosen the soil without damaging the roots. A hoe is better for a huge garden with lots of space and rows of flowers.
Garden above ground. Try gardening in containers or a raised flowerbed. Wear gloves for easy cleanup.
Save your knees and back. Try kneeling on a cushioned board that converts to a seat.
– Eric & Lynn
Use good gardening tools. Look for hoes and pitchforks with extended handles — they’re easier on the gardener. Good pruners are important to cut stems evenly. – Helen
Take breaks. Sit down and be sure to rest.
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