One of the toughest things to leave behind when making the transition from the home we spent the majority of our adult lives in to a senior living community is the loss of our green space.
When my parents turned 50, they moved from a home in beautiful Bellaire, Texas, tucked just outside the loop in Houston, to a town home near the city’s theater and downtown district. The move made sense at the time – they no longer needed all the space with my brother and I off living our own lives; they were getting a bit less physically active and no longer wanted to spend hot summer days working out in the yards, but also didn’t want to turn that duty over to yardmen and landscapers.
My parents had an absolute passion for gardening and landscaping when I was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. They mulched, they planted, they pruned, and they weeded. My dad and my grandfather even purchased and constructed a greenhouse in our backyard to keep my parents’ choicer plants safe during Houston’s colder months.
However, the move took away their passion, as their townhouse had about as much yard space as the laptop computer I’m typing this blog on. They still had the passion for gardening, and had to alter their mindset on how to keep that fire burning.
What they did is become gardening specialists and indoor gardeners, something that more and more senior citizens and people who live in a limited amount of space are taking up as a hobby and finding immensely satisfying.
For people like my parents who found themselves reduce from half an acre of grass and trees down to a rock garden for a front “yard” and a small strip of grass in the back, they got interested in specialty gardening; that is, focusing on a few specific types of plants, usually in large pots, that require a lot of care, but whose smell, look, or flowering potential make all that work worth it.
Plants like the Satsuki Azalea, Cockscomb Seed, and Bonsai trees fall into this category.
As Americans trend more and more toward urban living – a full 81% of our population lives in cities, as compared to just 54% worldwide – space for growing plants, vegetables, fruits, and trees, dwindles ever smaller.
With that in mind, an entire industry of indoor gardening has (pardon the pun) cropped up, with local community classes, books, videos, and even television programs dedicated to it.
If indoor gardening is something you might be interested in, the top goal is to know your living space well enough to realize what sort of plants are feasible to be grown inside. If you have lots of windows and plenty of direct sunlight, your options are almost limitless, but if your place tends to be more on the shady side, or is part of an apartment complex or living community that is largely inside, you might have to look a little more for options, or consider artificial lighting that emulates sunlight.
Once you’ve considered your light capabilities, space is your next factor. You’re probably not going to be able to fit a magnolia tree in your spare bedroom, but there are plenty of chances to be creative here, dedicating window space, the top of a table, or even buying a household fixture specifically designed to house a plant that possesses vines and can be a decorative and conversation piece.
There are plenty of unexpected benefits of doing indoor gardening, aside from the obvious ones of having a project to keep you busy, something to be proud of, and often pretty flowers to look at sweet fragrances to savor.
As we all learned in grade school, plants take in our carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, which is why the air feels so much better when we’re outside in a garden or the countryside. Having your own personal clean-air producer in the form of a fern or flowering plant inside will make your air cleaner and make you feel better just by being around it.
If you venture outside the standard ferns and flowers, you can also grow plants that you can actually use: There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that can be grow inside and then harvested and put to use in our own cooking.
Indoor vegetables include: peppers, salad greens, carrots, onions, cherry tomatoes, beans, and kale.
For fruits, you can try: strawberries, blueberries, and citrus fruits.
Herbs can make your house smell great and full of fresh air. Easy options are: basil, parsley, oregano, lavender, cilantro, rosemary, and chives.
Aston Gardens At The Courtyards is here to provide a range of senior living options for those ready to start the next chapter of their lives. Contact us today at 813.710.3925 to learn about our senior living programs, amenities, and floorplans.