Creating a Garden for Retirement

In the garden I am always thinking ahead, whether I’m ordering seed for future sowings, designing a new feature, planning a long-term trial or just thinking about which new plants to grow next year; it’s always wise to plan for the future so that you can fulfil all your gardening dreams.  At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the Just Retirement Garden: A garden for every retiree, designed by Tracy Foster, demonstrated how planning ahead for your retirement and encompassing accessible, interesting, creative and useful features within your garden design can bring enjoyment, as well as creating the space to enjoy hobbies, entertain friends and make the most of the joy of gardening in retirement.

Tracy Foster in the garden she designed for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Garden, 'A Garden for every Retiree'. The garden was sponsored by Just Retirement Ltd.

Tracy Foster in the garden she designed for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Garden, ‘A Garden for every Retiree’. The garden was sponsored by Just Retirement Ltd.

The Just Retirement Garden featured some super brick-built raised beds, which were both attractive and functional and form a lasting, useful feature to enjoy throughout retirement.  Apply some careful thought to the design and height of your raised beds, and you can eliminate the need for stooping or bending while gardening as well as providing additional seating.  These brick built raised beds offer many advantages to the gardener; ideal for sociable gardeners, they could easily accommodate a large number of guests at a party.  They also make gardening easier, by raising up the plants, making them easier to tend and carry out any weeding or watering.  The fragrance from scented plants is more easily enjoyed when the plants are raised, making this an ideal place to grow aromatic and deliciously perfumed plants.

Another view of the garden from Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Here you can see some of the interesting bird boxes that were a feature of this garden.

Another view of the garden from Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Here you can see some of the interesting bird boxes that were a feature of this garden.

Hobbies are important to all of us, whatever age we are, by incorporating our interests within the design of our garden we can maximise the garden’s appeal and the time we’ll spend there.  The Just Retirement Garden featured hedges, beehives, bird boxes, and bird feeders to encourage wildlife, vegetables and herbs for cooking and to save money at the supermarket.  You may want to create your very own vista to paint from the comfort of your home, include an area for exercising, an area to relax with a comfortable seat in the sun or the shade, a BBQ area, a woodworking area, or an area to garden with your grandchildren.  You might want to include cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, and scented plants.  Don’t forget practical features like non-slip paths, a washing line, bin area, a compost heap or two, as well as a shed, greenhouse, and wood store – which provide the opportunity for collecting rainwater, so make sure you include a water butt!

At the back of the garden, just in front of the shed, there's a pretty log store, some raised vegetable beds and some containers with tomatoes and herbs growing. Just to the side of the log store, Tracy has re-used a mini step-lader as a plant theatre to display some colourfully planted containers.

At the back of the garden, just in front of the shed, there’s a pretty log store, some raised vegetable beds and some containers with tomatoes and herbs growing. Just to the side of the log store, Tracy has re-used a mini step-lader as a plant theatre to display some colourfully planted containers.

The extra time that retirement brings gives the gardener the opportunity to explore areas of gardening they haven’t had time for previously, whether it’s growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, learning more about a particular plant genus, growing cut flowers for the house, or sharing the garden with grandchildren or younger friends and relatives.  Retirement is truly an exciting and inspiring time, so thinking ahead and designing your garden to be accessible and practical as well as interesting and inspiring will help ensure that your retirement garden is full of inspiration, contentment and happiness.

Stephen Lowe, the Group Communications Director at Just Retirement says “By creating a garden for every retiree we wanted to show that gardens don’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or require lots of room. Like retirement, they just need a little planning and nurturing to get the best results.”

Garden designer, Tracy Foster, in the garden she designed for Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015.

Garden designer, Tracy Foster, in the garden she designed for Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015.

Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree, was designed by Tracy Foster and sponsored by Just Retirement.

Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree, was designed by Tracy Foster and sponsored by Just Retirement.

This brick built raised bed is a lasting and attractive garden feature. As well as lifting the planting up, therefore avoiding the need for as much bending or stooping to tend the plants, these raised beds also work as additional seating for BBQs or garden parties.

This brick built raised bed is a lasting and attractive garden feature. As well as lifting the planting up, therefore avoiding the need for as much bending or stooping to tend the plants, these raised beds also work as additional seating for BBQs or garden parties.

Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree was designed by Tracy Foster and built by Conway Landscapes. The garden was sponsored by Just Retirement Ltd.

Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree was designed by Tracy Foster and built by Conway Landscapes. The garden was sponsored by Just Retirement Ltd.

Just Retirement: A Garden for Every Retiree featured a pretty vegetable garden, the vegetable plants were growing in raised beds to make tending the vegetables easier for the gardener.

Just Retirement: A Garden for Every Retiree featured a pretty vegetable garden, the vegetable plants were growing in raised beds to make tending the vegetables easier for the gardener.

This painted shed was an attractive feature of the Just Retirement Garden. Accessing the shed is easy as there's no threshold or step to trip up over! The cheerful sunflowers, wooden barrel style water butt and the pretty window box only add to the charm of this attractive and useful, practical shed.

This painted shed was an attractive feature of the Just Retirement Garden. Accessing the shed is easy as there’s no threshold or step to trip up over! The cheerful sunflowers, wooden barrel style water butt and the pretty window box only add to the charm of this attractive and useful, practical shed.

Tracy Foster tending her plants in the garden she designed for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Garden, 'A Garden for every Retiree', sponsored by Just Retirement.

Tracy Foster tending her plants in the garden she designed for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Garden, ‘A Garden for every Retiree’, sponsored by Just Retirement.

This article was originally published in the September 2015 edition of VantagePoint Magazine.

Other articles that may interest you………..

To see the planting list for Just Retirement: A Garden For Every Retiree, designed by Tracy Foster, please click here.

To read my review of Tracy Foster’s book, The Just Retirement Book of Gardening, please click here

To read my review of Felco No. 12 Compact Deluxe Secateurs, please click here.

To read an article I co-wrote with Anna Maynard, from the Chiropractic Health Centre in Godalming, advising on how to enjoy gardening, without straining your back or your body, please click here.

To read my interview with Chris Beardshaw and find out more about The Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, please click here

If you’re looking for some interesting or exciting new plants to grow in your garden, you might be interested to read about the 20 shortlisted plants, including the finalists and winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year 2015, if so, please click here.

To read about my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read about growing edible mushrooms indoors, please click here.

To see more photographs from the 2015 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, please click here.

To see photographs from the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.

To read my interview with James Basson and find out more about the Gold Medal winning garden ‘A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse by L’Occitane’ that James designed for the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.

To find out about the Water Station Garden by Pepa s Krasa, a Fresh Garden, showcasing drought tolerant plants at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.

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