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Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older

By Sydney Eddison

Eddison's thoughtful reflections are timely for countless gardeners who are approaching the time in their lives when a garden sanctuary can feel like a burden.


In prose so resonant that you may find yourself in tears of recognition, lifelong gardener Sydney Eddison offers practical and heartfelt advice that will help you transform gardening from a daunting list of chores into a rewarding, joy-filled activity.

Among her discoveries: Substituting low-maintenance plants for demanding ones will dramatically reduce the labor your perennial border needs. Shrubs can contribute as much beauty to the garden as perennials, and are easier to care for. Shady gardens are easier to maintain than sunny ones. Timely pruning will help keep the garden from getting out of hand. And downsizing the garden, and getting some help, may be the best way to keep your sanity.

Eddison draws on her own experiences and those of other dyed-in-the-wool gardeners to present a version of gardening that is both realistic and encouraging. And while many of the practices described are ideal for older gardeners, they also have much to offer younger gardeners with demanding professional or family responsibilities. A new postscript brings readers up date about the ongoing changes in the author's garden (and in the author herself).

Awards for this book: American Horticultural Society Book Award

Media reviews

"Keep up your passion for plants as you grow older with these practical tips."

Whole Living

"I found it liberating to be given an excuse to ditch some of my backbreaking chores. Who's waiting to grow old? I'm preparing for the future right now. You can tuck this perfect gift into your basket."

New York Times Book Review

"Sydney Eddison is my kind of garden writer, now passing along wisdom acquired from 50 years. No B.S., no rhetoric. Trust this writer; she knows what she's talking about."

Garden Rant

"Practical advice and heartfelt anecdotes on how to transform gardening into a labor of love."

Design NJ

"A very personal book with many nuggets of information."

Providence Journal

"A delightful read with many helpful hints about simplifying garden maintenance."


"Poignant observations throughout."

—George Weigel, Patriot-News

"While many of the practices included in the book speak to the older gardener, those with mobility issues, no matter their age, will find Eddison's ideas both gentle and practical."

California Country Magazine

"Gardens change, and so do we—our time, our needs, our energy. Sydney tells us how to roll with the changes ... how to garden for life without getting lost in the weeds."

On Point, NPR

"Sydney Eddison has long shared with readers ... her experiences maintaining her garden in Connecticut. Now she's using those experiences to help older gardeners like herself continue to pursue their passion as they age."

—Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron Beacon Journal

"Sydney helps transform gardening from a list of chores into the rewarding joy-filled activity it was meant to be."

Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut newsletter

"Sydney Eddison believes you can weed out loads of demanding yard work as you age without reducing the enjoyment of gardening. The 78-year-old author says it's simply a matter of gardening more wisely."

—Dean Fosdick, ABC News

"Eddison's thoughtful reflections are timely for countless gardeners who are approaching the time in their lives when a garden sanctuary can feel like a burden."


"Anyone who's gardened for a long time will want to read Sydney Eddison's new book."

Philadelphia Inquirer

"All of us need to begin addressing these issues, and this [book] is a gentle way to get started."


"A lovely read for those of us who can no longer put 16 hours a day into the garden."


"Her advice is both practical and creative."

—David Bare, Winston-Salem Journal

"Garden wisdom to all ages."

—Susan Smith-Durisek, Lexington Herald-Leader

"Practical, imaginative, and delightful."


"Packed with insights that readers will find helpful, whether they're nearing a certain age or simply trying to plan their gardens well."

Hartford Courant

"An excellent and thoughtful new book ... a must read both for now (after all, who doesn't want to garden smarter?) and for your future gardening self. She is practical, humorous and clear-sighted."


"While this book is meant for gardeners who are getting older, it's relevant reading for anyone who may not have endless supplies of time, energy, and money to devote to their garden."

Connecticut Gardener

"[Eddison] writes with wisdom and experience. Are you looking for anything more?"


About the author

Sydney Eddison

Sydney Eddison has written six other books on gardening. She has been honored by National Garden Clubs Inc. with their Award of Excellence for 2010. For her work as a writer, gardener, and lecturer, she has also received several other gardening awards. Her garden has been featured in magazines and on television. A former scene designer and drama teacher, Eddison lectures widely and is a frequent contributor to Fine Gardening magazine and other publications.

Read more about Sydney Eddison

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