My senior mom has been feeling a bit down the last few days as she is busy recouping from minor surgery. I say minor, but really, the older we get, the harder it can be to bounce back from something like that.
As I was doing the dishes for her, enjoying the lovely view of her tasty vegetable garden and the Sunflower House, I was thinking of a way to perk her up and realized the answer was right there in front of me – in all her senior gardening projects. Even though she doesn't feel super spiffy, having her vegetables to water and nourish, along with enjoying sweet moments in the patio chair admiring the flowers, watching the Kentucky Northern Cardinal and other birds, along with bunnies, and butterflies, really encourages her. She was commenting the other day that we should do something after the last of the Sunflowers from the Sunflower House has been used to feed the cute critters
Pulling out her Month by Month Gardening book for Tennessee and Kentucky by Judy Lowe, we discovered there are several delightful options for gardening projects over the fall and winter. You should have seen the twinkle in my senior mom's eyes when she realized she could start some new gardening endeavors such as Autumn flowers in just a couple of weeks! After thinking through the choices we decided on:
Winter Pansies – My mom loves these delightful flowers but has never tried them. According to Ms. Lowe's Timely Tips, we can "porch" them over the winter (using the "new insulated posts that mimic the look of terra cotta, move them to a protected place – maybe on a porch up against the house. Then plant pansies in them to provide beauty from fall all the way through spring.") Doesn't that sound like fun! It's certainly worth a try and she'll love this experiment.
Joining the pansies at the table will be Chrysanthemum Plants – I have to confess, planting these delightful fall mums will put a twinkle in my eyes as well, since they are my favorite Autumn flowers! The patio table is right up against the kitchen wall so she'll be able to enjoy these fall and winter treats each time she's at the sink!
In pots under the tree, we are going to plant a Pyracantha shrub and deciduous hollies, along with the Chinese Holly shrub (assuming, of course, we can track these down at the nursery). She loved that idea as she is looking forward to seeing her sweet Kentucky Northern Cardinal and other birds much away on the berries.
The Climbing Hydrangea Vine produces the gorgeous "fall foliage color" we both love, plus we both just plain love Hydrangeas! Not only that, she recently read an article about a retiree who has planted hundreds of these climbing hydrangeas. We're going to put one or two over by our woodpile. They should look great over there and be a delightful addition to the landscaping designs!
She wants to wait on most of the plants for another couple of weeks, until her small raised beds vegetable garden is done for the year. But I did fall in love with some delightful pink and fall colored mums so I brought them home as a surprise. Boy, did she smile BIG. And even though she hasn't been feeling too perky, she perked up big time from that for a bit. She's got them all arranged the way she wants and is ready to start repotting the mums tomorrow if she feels up to it!
As members of the Sandwich Generation, caring for elderly parents, it's important to remember to watch out for their primary needs – proper temperature, plenty of water and nourishing food, a safe walking environment, etc.. It's also important, though, to make sure we nurture them emotionally and spiritually, especially when they are going through a rough patch, like recovering from a surgery. A simple hug, an extra phone call, some snail mail or maybe even a teddy bear if they live far away, or some delightful Autumn flowers – potted or cut, can all be spirit lifters for our senior parents AND for ourselves as we see their delighted smiles. There's a good reason Jesus told us,
"It is more blessed to give than to receive."
I am so thankful that my senior mom is recuperating nicely, even though not as quickly as she'd like. I'm also quite thankful for all the wonderful flowers God has provided us with – at our home and throughout this beautiful world He has created. I'm joining up with Greg's General Store for Thankful Thursday and invite you to pop over there and be encouraged, as well.
I'd also like to invite you to enjoy the lovely flowers, plants and landscaping designs at Fertilize and Flaunt Your Flowers Friday, the delightful pinks of Beverly's Pink Saturday where you're sure to spot so many lovely city and country home decor ideas, and the sweet words of encouragement at Spiritual Sunday. A weekend of web-surfing pleasure for the Sandwich Generation, caring for elderly parents and enjoying boomer and senior gardening activities for grandparents and their grandchildren.