I've read and enjoyed each of the past books by the prolific garden writer, Sydney Eddison. A Passion for Daylilies is a must read for daylily fanatics, Self-Taught Gardener is a good read for any beginning gardener, and The Gardener's Palate is a classic primer on color arrangement in the garden. In the long run, however, I believe her most recent text, Gardening for a Lifetime (Timber Press, 2010), will become my favorite. Subtitled "How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older," Gardening for a Lifetime is a chronicle of Ms. Eddison's struggle to adapt her world-famous garden to the changes necessitated by the recent loss of her husband and to the ravages of her own aging.
Ms. Eddison draws the reader down that dreaded path with her by the opening words "I cannot leave this place. It is where my husband and I spent a lifetime together and where I want to stay." The book is full of ideas to simplify any garden in an effort to ease maintenance chores, but it also is full of lessons to help Kansas gardeners age gracefully with their own gardens and to accept that moving stone and fighting the prairie wind are activities for the young and strong pioneers, not the beaten-down survivors. Each chapter is summed up by a page of "Gleanings," which are simple lists of the ideas previously presented in an effort to keep the reader focused on applying the lessons to our own gardens. Ms. Eddison is at peace with lessened deadheading, at ease with casting out the prima donna's of our gardens in favor of the stalwart survivors, and she faces, with grace, the need to hire help for her garden chores.
May we all be as successful in aging with our gardens!