Sydney Eddison believes gardening should be a joyful experience, not simply a list of chores to be done.
The nationally known expert will offer her take on how to do that when she visits the Wilton Historical Society in the Burt Barn on Friday, Sept. 18, from 11 to 1. Her luncheon talk will be about Change: The Passage of Time in the Garden.
She will draw on her own experiences and those of others to present a version of gardening that is both realistic and encouraging. And while many of the practices described are ideal for older gardeners, they also have much to offer younger gardeners with demanding professional or family responsibilities.
Among her discoveries: Substituting low-maintenance plants for demanding ones will dramatically reduce work in the perennial border; shrubs contribute beauty and are easier to care for than perennials; shady gardens are easier to maintain than sunny ones; and timely pruning will help keep the garden from getting out of hand. Downsizing the garden, and getting some help, may be the best advice of all.
She says “I became fascinated by the subject of change in the life of gardens and gardeners in the 1980s …  I had already been gardening for more than a quarter of a century and had come face to face with how enormous some shrubs had become and how areas that had once been exposed to the sun had gradually become shady. Another thing I noticed was that rocks I had once pried out of new garden beds seemed bigger and heavier than they had before. For gardens and gardeners, time is the fourth dimension. Willy nilly, change happens. How we respond to it depends on our temperaments and on our gardening styles, but respond we must. And the decisions we make as we go along are what gives each garden its special character. This program shows how my garden has evolved.”
Eddison has written seven books on gardening, and has just published a book of poetry, Where We Walk: Poems Rooted in the Soil of New England. Her most recent book on gardening is Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older, which won an American Horticultural Society Book Award.
A writer, gardener, and lecturer, she lives with her Jack Russell terrier, Phoebe, in a yellow farmhouse surrounded by a two-and-a-half-acre garden of her own creation in Newtown.
Space is limited; early reservations are encouraged. Admission, including a catered lunch, is $20 for society members, $30 for non-members. Make reservations by emailing education@wiltonhistorical.org or calling 203-762-7257.