Creating a Garden for Retirement by Beth Otway

In the garden I am always thinking ahead, whether I’m ordering seed for future sowings, designing a new feature, planning a long-term trial or just thinking about which new plants to grow next year. It is always wise to plan for the future so that you can fulfil all your gardening dreams.

At a recent RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, one of the showcases was the Just Retirement Garden: A garden for every retiree, designed by Tracy Foster. This demonstrated how planning ahead for your retirement and encompassing accessible, interesting, creative and useful features within your garden design can create the space to enjoy hobbies, entertain friends and make the most of the joy of gardening in retirement.

The Just Retirement Garden featured some super brick-built raised beds, which were both attractive and functional and form a lasting, useful feature to enjoy throughout retirement. Brick built raised beds offer many advantages to the gardener. Ideal for sociable gardeners, they can easily accommodate a large number of guests at a party. They also make gardening more practical by raising up the plants, making them easier to tend and carry out any weeding or watering. The fragrance from scented plants is more easily enjoyed when the plants are raised, making this an ideal place to grow aromatic and deliciously perfumed plants.

Hobbies are important to all of us, whatever age we are, and by incorporating our interests within the design of our garden we can maximise the garden’s appeal and the time we’ll spend there. The Just Retirement Garden featured hedges, beehives, bird boxes, and bird feeders to encourage wildlife and vegetables and herbs for cooking to save money at the supermarket. You may want to create your very own vista to paint from the comfort of your home or include areas for exercising, barbecuing, woodworking, somewhere to relax with a comfortable seat in the sun or the shade or a corner to garden with your grandchildren.

You might want to include cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, and scented plants. Don’t forget practical features like non-slip paths, a washing line, bin area, a compost heap or two, as well as a shed, greenhouse, and wood store. You will also want the opportunity for collecting rainwater, so make sure you include a water butt!

The extra time that retirement brings gives the gardener the opportunity to explore areas of gardening they haven’t had time for previously, whether it’s growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, learning more about a particular plant genus, growing cut flowers for the house, or sharing the garden with grandchildren or friends and relatives. Retirement is truly an exciting and inspiring time, so by thinking ahead you can design your garden to be both accessible and practical as well as interesting and visually appealing.

Stephen Lowe, the Group Communications Director at Just Retirement says “By creating a garden for every retiree we wanted to show that gardens don’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or require lots of room. Like retirement, they just need a little planning and nurturing to get the best results.”

For more information about Beth, please visit www.pumpkinbeth.com

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