Gardening & Hobbies ideas

Gardening & Hobby ideas for consideration

gardening and hobby ideas

Gardening has always seemed to have numerous health benefits for both young and old people, particularly when we are growing our own food.   Even if the traditional version of gardening is a bit difficult for you now in your golden years, don’t despair; with some planning, a few changes, and a few wise purchases, you can create a pleasant gardening space for yourself that isn’t too taxing on the body.   You can buy raised garden beds or have them made to your specifications; with a little creativity in this area, you’ll have plenty of gardening space that you’ll find engaging, accessible, and fruitful.

One of the most important of gardening’s many health advantages for senior citizens is its potent stress-relieving properties. Spending time taking care of plants has a earthing/grounding effect that promotes calm and tranquilly.   After a busy day of gardening, we seem to have better sleep habits, less stress, and higher self-esteem, which raises the possibility that gardening does seem to contribute to better overall health.

The first thing that comes to mind when considering gardening’s advantages for those of us who are a little older is that it is a fun way to exercise most of our body when you think of it.   It raises our levels of physical and mental activity; it can help with mobility and flexibility issues, and gets our brains ticking over.   Given this, gardening must surely increase our stamina and strength in some way, thereby possibly assisting in the prevention of conditions like osteoporosis.   It undoubtedly lowers stress levels and encourages relaxation.   The thing that many of us will enjoy most about gardening, aside from any mental stimulation it might provide, is being able to gorge ourselves on the wholesome produce we have grown ourselves.

Garden Safety, what you need to know

elderly lady in the garden

When it comes to gardening in our senior years, it’s not all beer and skittles; there are a few safety precautions we should take before, during, and after gardening activities.   If you have plants with sharp thorns in your garden, you should consider purchasing some elbow length gardening gloves/guards. Look for products that are cut, tear, and thorn proof.   These gloves will protect you from nasty nicks, cuts, and abrasions while you weed, trim, or prune.    The best ones on the market will be made of super tough high performance polyethylene fibres with a cut 5 rating.

We need to attend to any cuts as we get older, so the best thing we can do is probably just avoid getting cut.   Cut 5 rated elbow length gardening gloves are great for protecting your fingers, wrists, and forearms, and some brands are often soft and flexible, allowing you to work comfortably.    Elbow length gardening gloves are a fantastic safety precaution that will have you safely reaching around into those thorny roses or prickly bushes.

Any walkways and paths in your garden that you must use should be level and non-slip.   Uneven concrete pavers or paths can cause trip hazards.   Because of the wet and cold weather we experience during winter, moisture can pool on pathways, creating a rather nasty slip hazard.  Moss and algae build-ups on your garden paths will need to be cleaned off because they are yet another way for nature to trick you into slipping in the garden.

During the hotter months be sure to limit sun exposure by working in the garden early in the morning or later in the day. Wear a wide brim hat, apply sunscreen frequently and drink plenty of water.  

Although it might be a tad uncomfortable, consider wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants during summer to protect your skin.   Store garden equipment and tools safely when you have finished with them, the last thing you want to happen is that you become injured from walking on or tripping over a garden tool that you could not be bothered putting away the previous afternoon.  

Purchase gardening tools that are easy to use for you.   There are plenty of companies out there in the big world that are making specially designed arthritis garden tools.   You can get ergonomically designed garden trowels, hoes, forks and cultivators that have been made with arthritis sufferers in mind.

To alleviate knee and lower back pain caused by kneeling on hard or uncomfortable surfaces, use a gardening stool, garden kneeler, or even yoga pads (approximately 30cm x 20cm).

Hire contractors for gardening or backyard tasks that are too difficult for you to do now, or tasks that your doctor or family members say are too dangerous for you to be doing these days.

Greenhouse options for your type of home & yard

combine raised garden beds with a walk in greenhouse

You can combine your raised garden beds with a specially designed greenhouse to improve your gardening experience.  You can purchase many different backyard greenhouse designs but one type in particular that stands out is the walk in dome shaped greenhouses that are 3 metres long, 2 metres high and 2 metres wide.   These greenhouses will easily accommodate your raised garden beds.   

Made from steel, these things have plenty of room, they have a roll up zipper door and 6 ventilation windows complete with insect screens.   The cover is made from a durable plastic and they are a lovely feature for your backyard.

When we combine our raised garden beds with a specially designed walk in greenhouse, we provide our plants with a constant temperature for optimal growth throughout the seasons.   Besides providing you and your plants with protection from weather elements, these greenhouses also do a very good job of keeping out bugs, insects, birds, rodents and stray pets from your cherished garden beds.   You really don’t want your neighbour’s cat doing their business in your veggie patch.

You will need to position these greenhouses in a spot in your backyard that is as sheltered from the wind as possible as you don’t want them being damaged from freakish storms or strong winds.   It might be an idea to talk with your local nursery for ideas on how to secure and protect your backyard greenhouses for peace of mind.

Raised garden beds on wheels

Raised garden beds on wheels

Raised garden beds allow those of us who are a little older than others and/or have a physical limitation or two to continue gardening and enjoy eating vegetables that we have grown ourselves.   Raised garden beds are ideal for avoiding bending over and putting our bodies in awkward or painful positions.   They allow us to care for our plants without putting undue strain on our bodies.   This reduces the possibility of back strains and injuries. There are also a number of specially made raised garden beds that appear to have been designed with a wheelchair or mobility scooter in mind.

In addition to raised garden beds, we can purchase retractable pulley-hung hanging baskets; most hardware stores carry these items, and there are numerous options available online.    Gardening for seniors can be especially difficult when using traditional gardening techniques at ground level.

Raised Bed Gardens, particularly for vegetable gardeners, can transform a potentially unpleasant experience into an enjoyable one and nothing beats fruit and veggies that you grow yourself.   Raised bed gardening has several advantages, including less weeds, better water retention in very sandy areas, better drainage in clay rich soils, no soil compaction to deal with, warmer soil earlier in the season, and the ability to maintain warmer soil for a longer period of time throughout the year.

The most popular types of fruit trees to grow in Pots

Growing fruit trees in pots

Fruit trees in pots are an excellent addition to any space, large or small.   Peach, cherry, apricot, pear, apple, and apricot trees are typically the best fruit trees to grow in pots because they bloom in spring and provide delicious ripe fruits to pick in summer and autumn.   

You can also take things a step further by purchasing dwarf varieties of the fruit trees you want.   What makes dwarf fruit trees in pots so great is that they have been grafted onto dwarf rootstock to keep the tree small but productive.    Dwarf fruit trees produce just as well as full-sized trees.

Fruit trees in pots are a beautiful addition to any backyard, but there are a few tricks to keeping them healthy.   The first thought is to replace the top layer of mulch or compost in the spring and summer. On a regular basis, apply liquid fertilisers to keep them well fed.  

Before you buy a fruit tree to grow in a pot, ask the nursery if you need more than one tree for successful pollination.   This will have an impact on your costs; fruit trees are not always inexpensive, so if you discover you need to buy at least four of a particular tree, your budget may be exceeded.   If you can only afford one tree, consider a cherry, apricot, or peach tree because they are self-fertile, which means insects like bees pollinate their own flowers.   Undoubtedly, you’ll need more than one apple tree growing nearby. The majority of apple varieties require pollen from another variety in order to produce healthy mouth-watering fruit and there would need to be another variety within about 1 to 1.5 kms.

Radio Controlled Yachts are incredibly entertaining.

radio controlled yachts fun

You’ll enjoy radio-controlled yachting whether you’re looking for excitement or relaxation. It’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than gliding a 1-meter-long yacht across a lake or pond. If you live near a suitable body of water, there’s probably no need to travel very far to enjoy this hobby.   Radio controlled yachts are quickly becoming one of the most well-liked radio-controlled hobbies for seniors, whether they are still living at home or now residing at a retirement resort. I’m not sure if it’s a strategy or just coincidence on the part of the companies that build over 50/55 or retirements resorts but you’ll frequently find that these resorts are located at a suburb or town where there just happens to be a gorgeous body of water nearby.

I’ve also discovered that Radio Controlled Yachts aren’t all that expensive.  A very nice 1 metre long unit with transmitter and receiver is usually priced around $400.  If you join a radio controlled yacht clubs your area, you might be able to pick up a good second hand yacht from a member for a bargain price as well.   These clubs frequently organise inter-club competitions and will frequently arrange for a minibus to transport members to and from events.   I believe that the best setting for radio controlled yachting is a beautiful lake, particularly one that is relatively free of bothersome weeds.   If you’re lucky, you might come across a lake with a north/south aspect that isn’t obstructed by large buildings, allowing for steady air flow supply for long lasting entertainment.

As popular as this hobby is, it’s not as simple as you might think; after all, they’re just a scaled-down version of the real thing, so all the same principles apply.   The only difference is that you control these yachts while sitting in a comfy camping chair, using the controller in between sips of coffee/tea. 

You should get in a lot of practice before entering club races because these people can be very good at this craft and will fly past you as if your yacht was at anchor.  As if this wasn’t a fun enough day, the club events usually include a BBQ for lunch, so you’ll be leaving with a full belly.

Learn Needlepoint

learn needlepoint

Needlepoint is a type of embroidery that has been practised for a few thousand years.    Needlepoint was originally created as a tool to make practical textiles and people would stitch wool yarn through a hard evenly interlaced canvas.   Needlepoint would later evolve into a more decorative and fashion oriented craft around 500 years ago.

Wool is still used in modern needlepoint, and I believe it always will be, but silk and cotton yarns are also popular, as are ribbons and metallic cords.  The thread used in needlepoint is determined by the canvas.   Cotton canvas is the most commonly used canvas, most likely because it is washable and easy to handle.   Mono canvas is the most popular type of needlepoint canvas. It is also known as a single mesh or single weave, and it uses an over and under weave to create a very strong, durable, and high-quality canvas. Despite its strength, Mono canvas is very flexible, making it ideal for most tapestry work products.   Mono canvas is a good choice for a variety of stitches because the intersections can move around to accommodate different stitch directions and thicknesses.  Mono canvas is available in a variety of sizes.  

The size relates to the number of threads per linear inch, 10 to 18 is the range for Mono canvas to be best of my knowledge. The smaller the size reference number is, the larger the aperture or hole size in the canvas (the more open the weave is).

If the needlepoint design to be undertaken is small or intricate, a size 18 needlepoint canvas would be used. A size 18 mesh canvas is arduous and takes more time to complete than a size 10 canvas of the same size.   Size 10 or 12 mono needlepoint canvas is better for needlepoint beginners.

The type of thread you plan to use in your needlepoint design will also have an impact on the size of canvas you choose. The mesh should not be too resistant of the thread as it passes through. If the mesh is too small, the thread will tear. If the mesh is too big, the thread will leave gaps, it won’t cover the weave it passes through, and the canvas will be exposed.  

The simple gentle rhythm of the thread moving through the canvas can help the body relax and de-stress. Needlepoint engages both the hands and the imagination and is both a creative outlet and a therapeutic activity for some people.   The popularity of needlepoint clubs seems to be growing, and this might be because more people are becoming aware of the benefits of this craft for mental health.

Learn how to paint

learn how to paint

Painting is a beautiful form of art and an enjoyable activity that stimulates our minds.   What you do on a canvas does not need to be perfect or appreciated as you get all you need by expressing your feelings on a flat surface.

Learning to paint can be a therapeutic activity and the advantages are numerous.   It offers a great chance to relax, pass the time and express ourselves creatively.   Even if you have never been an art enthusiast before, there’s a good chance that you might develop a strong passion for painting quicker than you could imagine.

Group painting is fun and effective way to learn and develop your skills. A group of like minded friends can get very creative and you can be relaxed, have fun with it and at the same time offer encouragement to one another.  Group painting sessions will assist you with creating new relationships as socialising with a bunch of people that are making the same hilarious mistakes as you will come very easy.

 

Painting classes can help shy people avoid becoming lonely and isolated because they will feel less stressed and anxious about life in general. Painting gives us a creative outlet and a tool for dealing with any frustration and anger you may be feeling, which helps us deal with issues and feel happier.

Learn artistic photography

Learn artistic photography

Photography is the act of capturing a scene we see as it actually was, without any staging, augmentation, interference, or our interpretation.    

With Artistic Photography, we try to create something more beautiful or interesting than the actual scene.   Through artistic photography, we can turn something that might be logically reasonable in its natural state into our own personal idea of something jaw dropping, cool, or fascinating. Sure, it’s not realistic or accurate, but that’s the whole point.

In fact, artistic photography is dependent on us being artistically transformative with our photography; we must abandon the notion of being a representative of reality.   Even if we come across something absolutely fascinating while travelling, it is not art until we intentionally change it.   To create artwork, we use our intelligence, creativity, imagination, and, on occasion, a sense of humour.    We accomplish this by utilising any skills, props, tools or equipment we have to stage a complex change to the scene, alter it with lighting effects or edit the original scene digitally later on.

It’s all about seeing the world around us in a new light or tone and then artistically expressing our interpretation or transformation of “what actually exists.”   We may or may not share our artwork with the rest of the world, but that is not the primary motivator in this space.   It’s perfectly acceptable to keep our art to ourselves and simply enjoy it.

Getting started with playing lawn bowls

Lawn Bowls is a fantastic and unique sport in which anyone can take part. Bowls is a sport for everyone and is played in 52 countries worldwide.   Bowls welcomes participants of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, and abilities/mobility.  

Bowls is one of the most social sports available, and because of its low impact, it is also one of the least taxing on your body.   It is a relaxing way to exercise while gradually improving your fitness and muscle strength. 

Playing lawn bowls is an excellent way to meet new people while also providing numerous mental challenges and a fun competitive spirit.   It’s exciting to meet new people in the clubhouse one week and then compete against them on the green the next.   One advantage of Lawn Bowls is that you will almost certainly live near a club.   There are tens of thousands of clubs around the world, and millions of people participate. 

Lawn bowls is a fun and healthy sport that is relatively simple to learn, and bowling clubs are an excellent social venue for meeting new people and developing long-lasting friendships.  It’s a great excuse to get some Vitamin D by spending some time outside.   You may practise on your own whenever the greens are open for roll-ups.   There are usually plenty of opportunities to play more relaxed and social versions of the game, such as barefoot bowls, with friends or family.   Even if you only need to get out of the house for an hour or two, you can always call in to the clubhouse and enjoy a meal and a hot or cold beverage.

I particularly enjoy lawn bowls clubs because you never have to worry about not knowing anyone on your first day.   Lawn bowlers will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and you will quickly make new friends.  Lawn bowls is far less expensive to play than many other sports.   Join a club and give it a whirl; you don’t need much equipment/kit to get started, and you’ll have many great days, especially if you win your game and the meat raffle.

Click here to read my full article on the Blog page.

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