“While the spirit is still soaring eagerly onward and upward, the old bones and cartilage begin to insist that they can no longer handle the demands being made on them….What I object to is the steady process of gradual dilapidation: now it’s the knees, then the back, and in my case the eyes….I would propose we all go vigorously full speed ahead until our time is up, then fall suddenly on our faces, finished. I myself would like to meet Death in the flower garden—falling facedown onto a cushion of Dianthus gratianopolitanus.” [Sheldon, Elisabeth, Time and the Gardener (Beacon Press 2003)].
As the years roll by, I more fully appreciate this lament by accomplished gardener/author Elisabeth Sheldon.
Yet, happily, there are recent studies designed to help us maintain our good health and well-being. For example, it has been shown that diets high in fiber — found in food like fruit, avocados, broccoli, and sweet potatoes — reduce the risk of intestinal disorder, heart disease and diabetes, and that fiber along with yogurt reduces the risk of lung cancer.
There are also positive health advantages to adopting a dog: People who own dogs live longer; they have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced symptoms of depression.
Note: If you are unable to take on the responsibility of a real dog, research has suggested that even a stuffed animal could alleviate some behavioral and psychological symptoms. In fact, even if you don’t have medical problems you might like Jennie, a robot modeled on a 10-week-old Labrador puppy. Photo below.
For me, the extraordinary benefits and rewards of working with nature far outweigh the problems. As I look back at the garden year 2019, I’m reminded of the immense joy I receive from fragrant flowering shrubs whose perfume carries on the air. Aromatherapy in my own backyard:
Bloom: March/April. Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (Sweetbox) Z 6-8
Bloom: May/June. Philadelphus coronarius (Sweet Mockorange) Z 5-8
Bloom: May/June. Cytisus scoparius ‘Moonlight’ (Scotch Broom) Z 5-8
Bloom: June-November. Rosa ‘Belle Vichysoise’ (Noisette Rose ) Z 7-9
Bloom: July/August. Hydrangea paniculata Z 5-8
Bloom: September/October. Osmanthus x fortunei ‘UNC’ Z 7-9
When an early November freeze rudely zapped both garden bloom and autumnal leaf color change, instead of two aspirin and a nice lie-down this gardener opted for Plan B:
2020 is just a shiver away. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday and a Happy, Healthy New Year!