Years ago, people loved to look through seed catalogs during the winter time. It was fun to dream of spring and summer and all the great plants that are in their glory during the warm months. But you can also sow seeds during the winter months and have them ready to bloom or fruit in early spring. It’s a fun activity for you and your elders.
Joys of the Past — Hopes of the Future
Many of our elders came from rural backgrounds or from people who loved to grow plants in their urban yards. Seed catalogs were very popular when our elders were young. I’m sure they were looked at just as often as the Sears and Wards catalogs.
It’s easy to have seed catalogs sent to your home. Just Google “free seed catalogs” and you’ll see most are free and the companies are happy to send them to you. Not only will you find out your loved ones’ favorite plants and flowers, you might hear stories about when they were young and all the plants their own parents grew from seeds ordered in a catalog.
Planting in Winter
I found a number of articles online on how to start seeds indoors during the winter months. So many plants and even vegetables do best started indoors for an early spring planting. Sweet peas (the flowers and the edible variety), hundreds of herbs, nasturtiums, Johnny-jump-ups, calendulas and broccoli do well planted very early. But there are so many more kinds of plants you can sow in the winter.
This article from SFGate is a good place to start. It gives you pointers on how to find what will grow well in winter and early spring in your locality. They suggest having an Old Farmers’ Almanac to help decide what to plant in winter. Your senior should enjoy the almanac almost as much as the seed catalogs.
Saving your takeout containers with the clear lids is a good idea for starting seeds indoors. But you can use egg cartons as well or buy ready to use trays and planting mediums from your local nursery or home improvement store.
GardenGuide.com also has a good article on starting seeds in the winter time. There are lots of links to other sites that can help you plant the right plants at the right time.
Pots for Plants on the Patio
Many assisted-living communities now encourage their residents to do a little gardening on their decks and patios. Planting in pots can make it easier for older people to enjoy tending their plants and having them so close to where they sit outside. The pots don’t have to be huge if you set them on a table but large pots are also great and once one plant variety is finished blooming or fruiting, the senior can plant something else in its place.
Indoor Plants to Enjoy
If planting outdoors is difficult, there are so many great plants that are meant to stay indoors. I love the aloe vera plant and it’s great for treating cold sores and skin irritations. Peace lilies and African violets are also fun to grow and need very little sun to do well. Recently I was given a large glass jar with a peace lily growing inside. It has pretty pebbles for one of the layers on top of the soil. A little fairy is sitting on a tiny bench under the lily leaves.
So, get creative! Order some catalogs. Get those garden gloves out or get ready to get your hands dirty — it is therapeutic!