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Gardening tips from the desk of BuddingBarb

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So, my senior friends, "spring has sprung" and our gardening "itches" are working overtime. But alas, our knees ache and our joints are creaking in unison.

BuddingBarb, the mother of Elderwerks Educational Services President Jennifer Prell, offers some easy ways to satisfy your green thumbs:

1. Raised gardens

Available at most hardware or DIY stores, they are easy to assemble and care for. Additionally, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and beautiful annuals grow well in raised beds.

“Mine is outside alongside my deck and I can easily pick fresh herbs and veggies for dinner all summer long,” said BuddingBarb, a retired florist and avid gardener. “It’s not much work setting up and there are plenty of smiles to follow.”

2. Container gardening

If you have a windowsill, get a long and narrow planting box for small herbs or blooms. What is nicer than picking herbs for your famous roast chicken or your yummy homemade tacos or chili? In the fall, pick those same herbs, tie them in small bunches, and hang them to dry.

“I use my shower rod to do this,” BuddingBarb said. “When dry, crush leaves from stems, put into small jars and all winter long you will have fragrant herbs to use.”

3. Perennials

Even in a tiny garden, you can have color, fragrance and the satisfaction of knowing these tried and true plants will be back next year. Sun or shade, little nooks or crannies, plants like small ferns, lavender, sweet pinks, mosses or even rocks are beautiful and take little effort.

“I share my perennials with friends and they do the same as their plants prosper,” said BuddingBarb.

4. Find inspiration

BuddingBarb likes to visit garden centers for new ideas.

“I look for bright, cheery, long-lasting colors in annual blooms and also small bushes, herbs, etc.,” she said. “Then call your children or friends and have a planting party. It's a great way to see your kids and grandkids."

Another tip? "Be sure you have lots of homemade cookies, cake, lemonade and their favorite desserts on hand to say thanks,” said BuddingBarb.

Elderwerks Educational Services : 251 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60067: 855.462.0100 : https://www.elderwerks.org/

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