Greatful Dead-heading: A Gardener’s Revelation

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”Grateful Dead-heading: A Gardener’s Revelation,” an essay in Better with Age: Creativity, Discovery, and Surprise, published in 2020.

“Pinch. Snip. Snap. Severed, spent flowers drop into the compost bucket like guillotined heads into a basket. I pretend they’re my bad habits, bad temper, bad hair. If only it were so easy.”

“In the dusk of my life, I go out on my deck of a summer’s twilight to groom my kitchen herb garden. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, basil, tarragon and oregano, plus a scattering of spring onions, live in four large planters on coasters and in one stationary, soil-filled horse-watering trough. Mixed through all the pots are flowers. First come the early season, self-seeding volunteer annuals like violas and little native poppies. Later come the verbenas, petunias, calendulas, marigolds, and other hummingbird and insect-attracting annuals available every spring from the local greenhouse.”


“These marvelous vignettes are as varied as the 27 unique contributors. What they all share, however, is a fundamental sense of optimism about aging that is also realistic and sober. For those who are sensible enough and lucky enough to live long, there are many ways to continue growing, and even achieving, Many of the writers have experienced setbacks and challenges related to aging, often resulting in necessary alterations and limitations of lifestyle. But they demonstrate by example how, while in some ways diminished, each has found a way to craft a more mature. and in may ways more enriched, way of being.”
H I Weisberg