Tips on Lifelong Gardening

In this post, we extract several tips no lifelong gardening from a recent podcast episode. That episode, lifelong gardening with Toni Gattone, offered our listeners some great insights on gardening in their golden years. The old codgers came away with valuable lessons on safety as well as the importance of buying and caring for quality tools. Toni is a leading expert on adaptive gardening. Following her advice, countless senior citizens are still gardening safely and enjoying a hobby that gives them pleasure.


Toni reminds our gardening listeners that safety should be practiced each time you head out for a bit of gardening. Her key tips:

    • Remember your age. Most of us think we are still 45 but the reality is we are not. Don’t fight it. Accept it, adapt, and keep gardening.

    • Clean up the clutter in your garden and wherever you keep your gardening tools. We all dread the thought of a fall and simply keeping your workspace and paths clear dramatically reduces the risk of falling. A few minutes of cleaning up makes for a much safer gardening experience.

    • We discuss tools in the next section in more detail, but dull, ill-fitting tools are a safety hazard.

    • Think twice when you need to use a ladder. Think again if your trip up the ladder includes a power tool. An old guy like me (I’m 74) heading up a ladder with a power tool is a disaster waiting to happen. Hire somebody young and experienced to do the risky work. Better yet, adapt your garden so those scenarios are reduced.


Toni is spot on when it comes to using the right, high-quality tool for the job. You need to ensure your tools offer a good fit, and, if they are cutting tools, can be kept sharp. Her recommended basic tools:

    • A quality pruner is essential and used more than any other tool in most gardens. Spend the bucks to get a good one that can be sharpened. Toni has a good value pruner in her store.

    • For this old codger, a reversible, padded kneeler is a must. A lot of gardening is done at ground level and a good kneeler eases the challenge of getting back up.

    • Every gardener needs a weeder. Don’t head out to your gardener without one in your kit.

    • Gloves can both make gardening safer, but also, for the folks who enjoy the occasional manicure, gloves keep your hands looking great. Use good quality leather gloves for heavy-duty work and latex gloves for light pruning and weeding.

This post briefly touches on tips for lifelong gardening. Toni’s book, The Lifelong Gardener: Garden with Ease and Joy at Any Age explores in depth other tools and practices that make gardening easier, safer, and more accessible for gardeners in their golden years.

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