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Aging Gardens
Joe Landsberger
Saint Paul, Minnesota

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A Checklist for Aging Gardens
based on those of Leech Street

Your garden has arrived, matured. Passers-by and even garden tourists praise your work. But not only has the garden aged, but so also the gardener, the gardener's knees, back, etc. What next? What strategies are there to keep up with the joy of tending the garden? Here is a checklist for consideration:
  1. Hardscape:
    Pathways: What used to be quaint paths have now become unsteady: pavers rise and fall with the seasons and the slopes of walkways may challenge accessibility
    Retaining walls: Cracks widen; stones and bricks tumble
    Bench seating may become overgrown and inaccessible, and subject to mold
  2. Water management
    1. Stormwater runoff, collection, watering, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens
    2. Bioswales
      channels that treat and retain stormwater from one place to another
    3. Permeable pavements infiltrate, treat, and/or store rainwater where it falls.
  3. Soil management
    Plants may have depleted nutrients and are ready for fetilizer and/or compost.
    Mulch disintegrates and landscape fabric becomes compromised and need replacement
  4. Perennial gardens
    1. The passing of a favorite has left a bare spot
    2. A perennial is over-grown and needs rejuvenation, or has lost its vigor
    3. A hybrid has not only reverted, but also seeds with careless abandon
    4. .A commercial hybrid doesn't perform as well as natives
  5. Weather (drought, storms, winter, etc.) cause havoc
  6. Trees and shrubs
    Need regular maintenance: review each for how to best feature them, or to contain them, or to prevent colonization
    Prune for artistic, encroachment and containment of shade
  7. Lawn vs garden--edging and design
  8. annuals vs perennials, low vs high maintenance
  9. Shed, equipment and tools
    1. Storage
    2. Maintenance
    3. plant propagation

Considerations toward maintenance

  1. Edging
  2. Mulching
  3. Adding shrubs
  4. Containerraised beds
  5. Weathered Objects
  6. Fertilize for health
  7. Group plants by needs, thugs!
  8. Irrigate
  9. Ergonomic tools
  10. Garden carts
  11. Relatives/children mentoring
  12. List and assess; rank and rate
  13. Experts & master gardeners & garden clubs
  14. Curate!
  15. Tool maintenance