Giving Up Gardening A Bad Idea?

By George Graine, Fairfax Master Gardener
Every garden is a chore sometimes, but no real garden is nothing but a chore.
–Nancy Grasby

Late Bloomer (not to be confused with Victoria’s Secret) is a thoughtful gardening book by Jan Coppola Bills aptly subtitled How to Garden With Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life (St. Lynn’s Press, 2016). To be clear, this book is not a conventional how-to-garden text, but is filled with simple strategies for achieving easy care and friendly gardens. One might consider this book as a meaningful variant of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul (2000). That book was dedicated with love to everyone who helps make the world a better place through gardening.

Lare BloomerThe question to ask yourself should be “Is a garden something you love or just a labor of love?” You do not have to be in the second half of life to appreciate Late Bloomer. This book shows you how to approach gardening as we age and provides helpful hints and reminders on whatever needs doing.

This book is also helpful for experienced gardeners. It is a treasure trove of gardening information packed into its 140 pages of 13 orderly chapters with many helpful color photos as examples to further explain the text. As stated by the author, this book is “a soulful, satisfying experience, yours to create in a way that connects you with Mother Nature in all her amazing guises.”

The ideal starting point for Late Bloomer is the last chapter called “Perfectly Imperfect-Relaxing and Letting Go.” This chapter is a reminder for setting your own boundaries. Another way to consider this is to recognize that “Gardens are meant to be a safe haven, not a place of bondage. Discussing ways to do things differently in life is a sign of strength.” Amen to that! The key to understanding this book is to help you to change your mind-set by showing how you can lessen workload without having to compromise experiences and passion. The book shows how you can lessen your workload without compromising your gardening experiences and passion.

Do not chase perfection, the book cautions, as this is bound to be unrealistic and almost guarantees a real “hortache.” Surely you probably heard gardeners exclaim that “my garden is a work in progress.”

A maintenance-free garden or landscape is a myth, but with proper planning, problems can be reduced. The author’s gardening credo offers some principles worth