Volunteering in a Garden Brings Friendship, Peace and Beauty

Ronnie Gardstein dons her gardening gloves and pulls her pruning shears out of her gardening bag. A beautiful and overgrown pendula, or weeping hornbeam, is in her sights. She sits in the middle of the U.S. National Arboretum’s Asian Collections, eager to begin her volunteer work on a beautiful spring morning. “It’s an honor,” says Gardstein, 64, as she snips a wayward branch, referring to the privilege of spending one morning a week at the Arboretum’s 446 acres of cultivated …

Fire and Rain: Beauty and Good Health From the Ashes

My wife and I took a nature walk on the southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after a brush fire had ravaged the earth and turned the blackened branches of the laurel sumac trees into hands that clawed at the darkening sky. It was a scene right out of Dante’s Inferno, tempered by the life that lay on the other side of the hill. On that “other side,” stretched out before us were acres of lavender blossoms belonging …

Want to Live Longer? Mowing the Lawn Helps

Not a big fan of exercising at the gym or in a class? No problem! You can get similar health benefits from gardening, mowing the lawn or housework, says a new study of nearly 4,000 60-year-olds. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter Researchers in Sweden wanted to see if older adults who didn’t do typical exercise but who led physically active lives doing other things would reap similar health benefits. They followed healthy 60-year-olds, who were from Stockholm, …

Get Ready for Seasonal Gardening Bargains

“Mum” is the word this fall gardening season, literally.  When nurseries and home improvement stores start to sell colorful fall mums (aka “chrysanthemums”), it’s time for frugal gardeners to keep their eyes open for some spectacular end-of-season bargains. In many parts of the country, when the mums arrive at garden centers, those retailers begin marking down their remaining summertime nursery stock, including trees, shrubs, and other perennials.  These fall liquidation sales are often progressive affairs, with initial markdowns of maybe …

Cheap and Easy Gardening Tips

Check out this week’s episode of my weekly AARP web show on YouTube for some money-saving gardening tips and a chance to win a $50 gift card. Be sure to subscribe to the show (it’s FREE and easy – just click on the “subscribe” icon and follow the prompts), that way you’ll be eligible for a shot at the prizes if you leave me your tips.   Also of Interest Spring Into Gardening Season: 5 Frugal Ways to Get Your Plants and Garden Ready 9 …

How To Teach Kids Nutrition? Plant Something

“What do you do to get the kids to like stuff like kale? Or radishes?” I asked. Ms. Denise immediately begins shaking her head in protest, with a huge grin on her face. “If they take the seed and plant it. If they grow it. If they see it every day while they’re out on the playground. If they walk by and smell it. They will love eating it,” she said. We were standing in an edible schoolyard on a …