The 8 Best Places To Retire For Gardeners


Avid gardeners spend countless hours outside in the sun trimming, pruning, and nurturing their beautiful plants and tending to their gardens. As the retirement age nears, most people who love gardening will want to retire to a place that has the climate for great gardening. Sunny summers with good rainfall and balmy evenings make for good plant growth, and these are the types of conditions you will need to consider as a gardener looking to retire in the near future. 

The eight best places to retire for gardeners are Sacramento, San Francisco, Houston, San Diego, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, and St. Louis. These moderate climatic cities are great for gardening enthusiasts wanting a garden-friendly environment during retirement. These great towns for gardening and home to some of the most beautiful gardens the public can visit. 

These are only a few of the beautiful cities available to gardeners; we will look at them and a few more options. Suppose you feel a little more adventurous and enthusiastic. In that case, we will also look at a few foreign countries that offer great immigration benefits and some of the most beautiful sceneries and climatic conditions worldwide. These countries are certainly options for anyone with a zest for life and the love for gardening to explore.

Things To Consider Before Retirement

To be in the top cities or areas when you retire is a goal you can plan for a few years in advance. Depending on your current profession, you can start to look at various options on how to make a move by considering a few things beforehand. What you need to consider are the following things;

  • Look at the cities and plan a trip to visit these beforehand. Go in Summer and Winter to get a good idea of the natural feel of the weather. 
  • Decide whether you want to live in a monitored security estate or if you are happy with a standalone home in a retirement-friendly suburb, for example.
  • If you are a close-knit family, you might want to be close to your children and grandchildren. A city close by would be a good choice.
  • If you have health care, make sure that your healthcare provider operates entirely in the city you decide. Look at the proximity of the hospitals and clinics in the area you want to live in. 
  • Make a comparison of the cost of living between the cities where possible and where you currently live. You do not want to be in a situation where you have to spend more money on basic needs and utilities than where you currently live. 
  • Access to the sports and other hobbies you are currently engaged in like tennis, fishing, bowls, or birdwatching, for example. 
  • Look at neighborhoods and their proximity to good plant nurseries and farmer supply stores for any gardening items you might need. 

Although these seem like apparent recommendations, there are so many things to consider before retirement that having an action plan set out will help you execute your plan smoothly and with minimal hitches. 

If you are already in the city you plan on retiring but want to move to a smaller, more manageable house; you can ask a good realtor in your area to assist you with a transition. 

Famous retirement estates and villages are notoriously difficult to access unless you have your name on a waiting list many years in advance. If you have the means to buy a second property, you can purchase your retirement home early to secure your space. 

What Is The Plant Hardiness Zone Index?

The USDA releases a map called the Plant Hardiness Zone. Avid gardeners and farmers use this map for climate reference and tell you about the average maximum and minimum temperatures per year. 

Each zone is indicated by a number and sub-categorized by an alphabetical letter. This is a great reference point when deciding your retirement state.

The Eight Best Cities To Retire For Gardeners

California 

California is an excellent state with plenty of sunshine, dry summers, and beautiful forests and beaches. The winter months between January and March give some gentle rain. Spring and Autumn are cool and mild. There are a few cities in the state of California you may want to consider;

  1. Sacramento

The beautiful city of Sacramento hosts several parks and is largely gardening-centric. Some of the city’s notable gardens are 

  • The McKinley Rose Garden.
  • The World Peace Rose Garden in Capitol Park.
  • WPA Rock Garden inside William Land Park. 

Sacramento is the perfect climate if you love roses and plants that can survive with very little water. Water-wise gardening is a responsible outlook on how you can do your part towards being more environmentally friendly. 

Cost Of Living In Sacramento 

According to Bestplaces.net, Sacramento ranks 118.2 on the Cost Of Living list. It is on the slightly more expensive side. 

The Master Gardener Qualification

Once you have retired, you might consider putting your gardening skills to great use. The University of Sacramento in California has a program they present to anyone interested in becoming a master gardener. 

This  Master Gardener program can be done by anyone from all walks of life, giving you a certification from the university. In order to qualify, you are required to do 50 hours of volunteering work in the first year and after that 12 hours of further education yearly.  

How Long Does It Take To Qualify?

To qualify to become a master gardener, you will attend the class for 4 hours a week over 17 weeks. Lessons are intensive and cover a wide range of subjects such as;

  • Fertilizers.
  • Water. 
  • Common plant diseases and pests.
  • Soils and preparations.
  • Pesticides.
  • Landscaping.
  • Fruit and landscaping trees.
  • Vegetable gardening.

This extensive course is presented by experts in the field and is highly recommended.

What Is The Objective Of The Course?

The master gardener can help answer any gardening-related questions at clinics and via telephone. A master gardener can give advice, hold talks and help spearhead community gardening projects. They also assist in answering letters sent to the Sacramento Bee. 

This program is an excellent way for retirees to join their love for gardening and share their knowledge.

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

Sacramento is in the Plant hardiness zone 9b

  1. San Francisco 

San Francisco is a bustling city full of culture and art. The balmy weather and beautiful beaches are a welcoming sight to any potential retirees. The temperate climate is perfect for gardening. 

The city is home to the Japanese Tea Garden situated inside the Golden Gate Park. This is certainly worth a visit for inspiration and serenity. There are lots of gardening clubs to join where information and knowledge are shared. 

Cost Of Living In San Francisco

According to Bestplaces.net, San Francisco ranks at 269.3 on the list and is quite a lot more expensive than San Francisco. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

San Francisco is in the plant hardiness zone 10a.

  1. San Diego 

San Diego is ranked as the best gardening city in the state of California. It has a long growing season and lovely mild temperatures. San Diego has an average of 146 days of clear skies and sunshine, with only some partly cloudy days in between. 

 San Diego boasts the impressive 37-acre San Diego Botanical Garden and has several outstanding landscaped areas, including tropical and native Californian plants. This city is truly a gardener’s paradise and a climate that is favorable for retirement.  

Cost Of Living In San Diego

According to Bestplaces.net, San Diego ranks 160.1 on the scale of affordability. It is more expensive than Sacramento but cheaper than San Francisco. A paradise for retiring gardeners. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

San Diego is in the plant hardiness zone 10a.

Texas 

Everything in the great state of Texas is just bigger and better. There are a few places in Texas worth mentioning for retiring gardeners. Texas is known for its predominantly hot and humid climate, sunny days, and an overall impressive rainfall index. 

  1. Houston

Although Houston has a few challenges where gardening is concerned, that does not stop avid retired gardeners from beautifying their surroundings. Houston is known to have clay soil in areas and a few pests that can plague some plants. 

It also has a very resilient gardening culture, people ready to give the right advice and assist where they can. The Texas A&M University has a department called AgriLife and can help with any query. They have quarterly plant sales centered around plants specifically adapted to the Houston area. A great initiative.

If you want to join a gardening community and be among like-minded people, you can look at The Garden Club OF Houston. Here you will find dates on events, talks, and general information that can be invaluable.  

Cost Of Living In Houston

According to Bestplaces.net, Houston ranks at 96.5 on the affordability scale below the 100 pints that is the standard level given. This means that Houston is very affordable as a city and one to consider for any keen gardeners in the process of retiring. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

Houston is in the plant hardiness index zone 9a. 

Missouri 

Missouri has an excellent climate for all kinds of vegetables. If you are a keen self-sustainable kind of person, then Missouri is the place to be. With good rainfall, cold winters, and snow that kills off all sorts of fungi and pests that commonly plague gardens. 

  1. St Louis 

The city of St. Louis is bustling with creativity. There are music festivals and famous flower shows hosted at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It spans almost 80 acres of the most beautiful landscaped gardens, including the Japanese display garden of 14 acres. Not only does it boast these amazing gardens, but the botanical garden is the keeper of the world’s largest collections of endangered orchids. 

Cost of Living In St. Louis

According to Bestplaces.net, St Louis ranks at 81.3 on the cost of living score index. That is way below the average 100 points mark that indicates the average cost of living. This means that St Louis is a very affordable place to live and retire. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

St Louis is in the plant hardiness zone 6a.

Georgia

Georgia boasts good all-around weather and a favorable climate for gardening. It has a few zones with red clay soil and other areas with fertile, dark, and rich soils that are nutrient-dense and easy to garden in. With four great months of growing in summer and only one month of snow in winter, you can be assured anything you plant will successfully grow. 

  1. Atlanta

Atlanta is the city you want to investigate. With beautiful neighborhoods showcasing incredible gardens, you will have no problem picking a suburb you can settle down in. Atlanta is known for having an almost year-round growing season, and something few cities can boast. Every year on Mother’s Day, Atlanta hosts a gardening tour for that particular weekend. This always opens the door for new ideas, inspirations, and landscaping innovations. 

Cost Of Living In Atlanta 

According to Bestplaces.net, Atlanta ranks at 107.5 on the cost of living score index. This means that it just 7 points over the 100 mark for affordability. This gives Atlanta a positive overall score for those wanting to retire there. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

Atlanta is in the plant hardiness zones 7b and 8a.

Florida

No list would be complete without the sunny state of Florida. Great all-year weather, white sand beaches, and a tropical climate where absolutely anything grows. This is a paradise for gardeners who love sub-tropical theme landscapes and easily managed plant species. Florida boasts good rainfall in summer but dry conditions in winter. Florida has around 237 sunny days per year. 

  1. Miami

The city of Miami is home to some of the most spectacular gardens showcasing vibrant colors and unique landscaping designs. It is a retiree-friendly city with so many activities and hobbies that you can enjoy. In the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, you can spend the day exploring the magnificent plant species and landscaping in the 83-acre facility. 

Due to its regular rainfall, you will not need irrigation except for winter since Miami is sub-tropical and humid. 

Cost Of Living In Miami

According to Bestplaces.net, Miami scores 123.1 on the point index. That means Miami has a higher cost of living than the average city. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone 

Miami is in the plant hardiness zone 10b.

  1. Orlando 

The countries largest gardening show takes place in Orlando. The yearly Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is held in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Center is something to behold. With a seemingly endless list of things to do, Orlando will keep you on the young side of retirement longer.

Cost Of Living In Orlando

According to Bestplaces.net, Orlando scores 104.10 on the point index. That means Orlando is a cheaper city to live in than Miami and just slightly higher than the average of 100. 

Plant Hardiness Index Zone

Orlando is in the plant hardiness index zone 9b.

The Importance Of Gardening For Retirees

 Individuals that love gardening already knows the benefits of spending time in the sun and their hands in the soil. There is scientific evidence to prove that a microbe in the ground called Mycobacterium vaccae stimulates the production of serotonin. Serotonin acts like a natural anti-depressant that makes you feel great. 

Not only does this wonder microbe make you feel great, but it also helps cognitive function, fights Crohn’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Those are essential health benefits gained by doing what you love. 

Being active in the garden every day can help you with flexibility, exercise, and burning some calories. While you are gardening, it is estimated that you can burn around 250-600 calories in an hour of vigorous gardening. Shedding a few calories a day is nothing to complain over, and your body will feel great.

Besides feeling good, the exercise and vitality benefits, gardeners are always busy. There is never a time that the garden stands still. Perhaps in the middle of winter, but even then, planning for spring will keep you occupied.

Gardeners never stop learning. Education in gardening and landscaping is an ongoing process even into retirement. There is always a new plant species to discover at the plant nursery or a new disease you might need to deter. In selected states, you can qualify for the Master Gardener title, and it is an honorable way of sharing and passing on your wealth of knowledge.

The other tremendous benefit of retired gardeners is the social aspect. Join a local garden club or a community garden project. This will inevitably see people from all walks of life getting together over this common interest. Gardening in groups for the community is an excellent way of engaging in social activities and giving some time back to those who need it.

The most rewarding aspect of gardening is being able to eat what you grow. The satisfaction of harvesting your vegetables, herbs, and fruit for the dinner table is unmatched. You can control what seeds you buy, what fertilizing methods to use, and if you want to use pesticides or not at all. If you have excess veggies or fruit, you can sell them at the farmer’s markets or to neighbors. 

Besides having the option to retire in the USA, a few other countries offer fantastic climates and ex-pat benefits. If you are young at heart, body, and feel adventurous, take a trip and explore the following hand-picked destinations for retiring gardeners.

Best Countries To Retire In

Mexico

As a direct neighbor to the USA, Mexico is an excellent option for retirement. It has a low cost of living of between $ 1500 to $ 3000 per month. That will include your healthcare, rental and primary utilities. As a resident, you will receive identification and a senior’s card for special discounts. Most of Mexico’s region is favorable for gardening and relatively safe to live in.

Spain 

Spain has one of the highest standards of living in Europe but a meager cost of living. There are several ways for USA citizens to gain access to Spain. Either by the Golden Visa program or a visa based upon your sustainable worth and income. 

Spain’s beaches and landscapes need no introduction either. Spain has a stable government, year-round good weather, and some of the best wines and food.  

Portugal

When you think of Portugal, images of the Algarve might flood your mind. Fantastic seafood and other rich cuisines, good wine, and fantastic weather. Most of Portugal’s beaches are pristine, and accommodation is cheap. As a retired gardener, you can easily live on $2500 per month, including rent, utilities, and medical expenses. 

English is relatively widely spoken in Portugal, and the locals are friendly and helpful. Of course, it doesn’t hurt learning a new language at any age. Portugal is a prime country for gardening and enjoying life into retirement. 

Slovenia

Although not a conventional destination, Slovenia is a beautiful country. It boasts incredible forests, natural thermal pools, and gorgeous camping sites for those on the adventurous side. Gardening is easy in Slovenia, and obtaining a residency is not hard. 

As a retired gardener, you can expect to live off $ 1300 per month, including rental and utilities. That is very affordable in comparison to places within the USA. Slovenia is a safe country to live in.

Southeast Asia 

Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia are the three destinations you can look at. With a subtropical to tropical climate, much like Florida, you can plant a stick, and it will grow. Gardening is more with tropical plants, orchids, fern, and palm species but no less stunning. 

There is a vast cultural history in these three countries and so much to see and do. There are beautiful official gardens to visit, forest and sea excursions. The islands off the coastline beg to be explored, and the cost of food is low. 

You can expect to live on around $ 1500 to $2500 per month, including rent, utilities, and transport. There are beautiful homes available, medical care is on par with what you are used to in the USA, and banking is easy and uncomplicated. Definitely, a place to consider for retirement. 

South America

South America has unique countries to choose from, like Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, and Paraguay. The climates are favorable for gardening, and the landscapes are breathtaking. Roses are standard in South America and cultivated all year round. 

You can expect to live on $ 2500 to $3500 per month, especially in Uruguay, called the Swiss of South America; this magnificent small country is a gem. Fantastic weather, plentiful rainfall per year, and incredible landscapes and beaches.

The country of Uruguay is very expat-friendly and gaining residency is very easy. A bucket list country for sure for any near retiring gardener to visit. 

Central America

The first country that comes to mind is undoubtedly Panama. This gorgeous destination has the most incredible weather with no hurricanes, low taxes for ex-pats, and gardening is a dream come true. The houses are lovely, and all modern services are available in Panama. 

You can expect to live in $2500 to $3500 per month in Panama.

Costa Rica is the second option, with a low cost of living and a peaceful nation; this is a beautiful country to consider. The cost of living per month in Costa Rica is relatively low. You can get by with $2500 per month, including rental and utilities. 

In both Panama and Costa Rica, self-sustainability is very achievable, and you can grow your crops successfully and live off your land. 

Conclusion

The thought of retirement should not be a source of stress but excitement. People who are already avid gardeners have much to look forward to. Gardening not only beautifies your property; it also dramatically increases the value of your property over time. Good realtors always look for well-maintained, well-landscaped gardens to list. 

Looking at the many suitable cities within the continental USA where gardeners can retire, there is no shortage of choice. The essential checklists you need to keep in mind will differ from person to person depending on your individual needs and desires. 

There are beautiful countries to choose from if you want a change of culture, scenery, and frame of mind for the adventurous. Wherever you decide to retire based on this list, you can be assured that gardening will be rewarding in any of these places. 

Sources 

https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx
https://www.bestplaces.net/

http://sacmg.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardener_Training/

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Spain
https://internationalliving.com/countries/portugal/cost-living-portugal/#:~:text=Just%20about%20everything%2C%20from%20accommodation,%2C%20of%20course%2C%20spend%20more.
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Slovenia#:~:text=Summary%3A,lower%20than%20in%20United%20States.
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Ecuador
https://internationalliving.com/countries/mexico/cost-of-living-in-mexico/
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Uruguay
https://internationalliving.com/countries/vietnam/cost-of-living-in-vietnam/

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