Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Making a Rain Garden

When I heard about a class in installing rain gardens, I was intrigued. It sounded so pleasant, so relaxing; the makings of a spot to sit and drink lemonade and commune Thoreau-like with nature.

In reality, a rain garden is something you create to capture excess rainwater on your property to keep it out of storm and sewer drains for many good reasons, including reducing the threat of flooding.

My property does not lend itself to making a shallow depression in the ground and planting deep-rooted native plants and grasses to hold onto the water as it is slowly absorbed into the ground. But as is often the case, if you can't do one thing, you can do another, so I will look for other ways to help reduce runoff and keep it out of the small creek at the bottom of our large hill which often oveflows its banks when we have heavy rain or snow melt.

Thoreau would have liked that.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Like an Aster, You May be a Late (Retiring) Bloomer

Guest Blogger John Brady:

As a successful Baby Boomer, you’ve worked hard, raised the kids -- and most importantly -- learned valuable lessons about life along the way. Retirement will be here soon, and it should be an autumnal blast of beauty and joy in your life, much like asters bring your garden back to life in the fall.

Retirement could be your second chance on life -- if you spend some quality time thinking about what you want out of this next phase of your life. But, if you don’t make that investment, your retirement could fizzle. Even if you have worked hard all your life, a beautiful retirement is not guaranteed by what you have done so far.

I write a lot about the best places to retire on my website,, which has a lot of resources to help you find where you should live in retirement. The where question, however, is not the only decision you have to make in retirement. For an enjoyable and satisfying retirement you must also answer the when, why, what, how questions. Planning, evaluating your options, and ranking your priorities will greatly increase your likelihood of success in retirement.

Anyone can skip this planning process and still enter retirement. The problem is that if you haven’t done the right spadework, you might miss your chance to bloom in the third season of your life.

To help get you started on your personal planning process, I have prepared an article that explains the most common retirement planning mistakes that people make. (Teri was once kind enough to link to it in her wonderful newsletter). Although the article concentrates on the negative, you will easily see how to turn those common errors into positive choices, taking the steps to achieve a happy and fulfilling retirement.

Spend a few hours planning and discussing your retirement with your significant other and you can effectively start your life over again, becoming a late bloomer like that beautiful flower, the aster.