Gardening: The Activity From Which You Never Have To Retire

By: Duane Pancoast

In my area, this is the only gardener I could find, and this guy was in British Columbia, Canada. It’s the same in many other regions, a perfect opportunity for knowledgeable, enterprising people who want to garden for a living.

You can take an interest in gardening as a child and continue that interest all through your life.  Or you can take an interest in gardening at any point during your life. Perhaps the biggest gardening myth is just now being busted: that seniors have to give up their favorite activity when age starts catching up with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We can stay one step ahead of old age by continuing to adapt to compensate for our new challenges.

You may have heard of the Aging-in-Place movement. Businesses are springing up to provide services that help seniors keep living in their homes for as long as they can. The outdoor component of that movement is called Adaptive Gardening. And that’s what I write about in a blog called thegeriatricgardener.wordpress.com.

At age 82, I have a wealth of experience to draw on, as well as a growing amount of information on the internet, primarily from Extension Service sites. Conditions that create a need to adapt include mobility limitations and arthritis; cardiopulmonary and respiratory conditions; and sensory problems, such as fading vision and memory loss. Limited mobility caused by arthritic joints, especially knees and backs, seems to be what leads to most adaptive gardening.

The whole idea of adaptive gardening is to enjoy your garden more than you enjoy gardening. That means reducing the amount of work needed to maintain it. You don’t have to be a certain age to begin adapting. Gardeners in their 40s and 50s who are planning garden renovations, might consider incorporating adaptations for the future into their plans. Construction costs aren’t going down.

There comes a time, though, when aging gardeners need help. I’m all for asking family and friends, particularly children and grandchildren, for help. Working together can be a bonding experience. Who knows, it may become a new, lifelong passion for the younger family members, and a source of future GardenComm members.

Those who don’t have family willing and able need to hire outside help. In many areas of the country, finding a professional gardener can be next to impossible. There are many landscape professionals but most don’t offer gardening services. This niche could be a good opportunity for those GardenComm members who offer garden installation and maintenance service to develop another profit center. Be forewarned, however, the client will probably want to work alongside doing the jobs that they can handle. They are doers, not just watchers.

About the Author: Duane Pancoast is a garden blogger and speaker who has just written a book titled: The Geriatric Gardener, Adaptive Gardening Advice For The Senior Gardener. He has been a member of GardenComm since 1985.

POWER CIRCLES 2021 ~ All for One and One For All

Power circles are gatherings of three to ten GardenComm members who share the same goals and agree to meet regularly to help each other out and spur each other on. They are a member benefit of our organization, and not open to non-members.

Power Circles are NOT webinars, run by a leader or expert. These are more like study groups, where all members are responsible for planning and the growth of the group at large.

Every Power Circle member agrees to take responsibility for the planning and facilitating of at least one meeting. The person responsible for that meeting will decide the subject of the day and if there will be a guest speaker. The facilitator of each meeting will also be sure that all members have a chance to speak and be heard.

A power circle will only be formed if one member agrees to be the facilitator for at least the first meeting, and agrees to the power circle guidelines. As facilitator, that member will poll members to find the best time and day to meet, then inform everyone about the first meeting. The first meeting is usually a time for introductions and to clarify the goals for each participant.

Some groups find that it’s easiest to have one person be the coordinator for sending out emails and reminding the group of future meetings. That person is not responsible for providing continual content, however, nor is that person expected to be a group expert on the topic.

Time zones can be a problem for meetings. If some who sign up for a Power Circle can’t meet when the majority of people are available, a second group on the same topic will be formed, calling for others in that time zone to join. Note that it’s best to only be in one Power Circle at a time, so pick one and save other areas of interest for the future. Some groups meet for a few months and are finished, while others continue on for a year or more.

Watch for the notice in the GardenComm Clippings emails about how to sign up for the following power circles, which will begin to meet in mid-January.

Groups forming in January of 2021

Finding My Why and How: A power circle for members wanting to clarify the focus of their garden communications and plan for taking that passion into a business plan.

Getting A Garden Book Published: This group is for members who are planning or working on a book about plants or gardens. It’s a group that will support each other through the process of refining visions, writing a proposal, and either submitting to publishers or self-publishing.  

From Non-Fiction to Fiction: Many garden writers are either writing novels or planning to do so. This power circle is for those who have either written a novel and are ready to take the next step, or for those who are finishing a work of fiction.

Speaking In 2021…And Beyond: This power circle is for those who want to expand their speaking business, both virtually and in-person once the pandemic is over. Topics covered could be self-promotion, speaking skills, presenting virtually, and more.

Content Marketing: If you’re interested in providing content for horticultural businesses or institutions, this power circle is for you.

Increasing Income From Garden Communications: This is a group that will help each other explore how to earn more money from their garden communications. Members might be in need of broadening what they do, or focusing on a specialty more intently in order to raise their income.

Garden Photography: A power circle for those interested in improving their skills and finding ways to market their work.

Marketing Your Brand: Whether you are promoting a book, blog, or business, you need to promote your brand. This group is for those interested in doing a better job with marketing, be it on social networks, local media or beyond.

If you don’t see your area of interest here, you can suggest a topic as new Power Circles can be formed throughout the year.

For information or help, contact Kathy Jentz: kathyjentz@gmail.com or C.L. Fornari clfornari@yahoo.com for assistance or information.