Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Facts of Life

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

As a ‘professional gardener’ ‘there are some rules that I am forced to live by. A client who lives in a pine tree grove cannot expect beautiful, fragrant lilacs. A landscape over-run with deer may not produce majestic hydrangea blooms. An arid border may not bring forth succulent hostas. The southwest coast of England is home to the most luxurious Fuschia Shrubs imaginable while in Maine it is relegated as an annual. A plant will not thrive in an environment not suited for its variety.

This is also true for humans and other animals. Personally, I know I must live by the Ocean. I have had the opportunity to live by the banks of the Tennessee River with the great Smokies outside my window. I considered Chattanooga Tennessee for a while until I walked along Pine Point Beach for what I thought would be the last time. The answer came in ocean waves. Maine will remain my home. At least for now.

I will only flourish within a miniscule drive of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition living in a hardiness zone 5 excites me. It gives light to a passion that areas with longer grower seasons cannot embrace. Imagine not feeling excitement at the onset of March with crocus poking thru the snow. How boring to live where year round blooms exist. I have convinced myself I prosper because of where it is I live.

It is no secret I am a dog lover. Golden Retrievers are my kindred spirits. Their ‘all is right with the world’ dispositions are what called me to them in the first place. Our first dog as a married couple was a Golden named Roxy. She was 2 when she came to live with us. Her humans were expecting their 2nd child and their small apartment would not accommodate this loving beauty. Our gain for sure.

Roxy only required some pruning, watering, and nutrition to fit into our garden. We embraced her at 2 and I held her as I said good-bye to her half way thru her 14th year.

6 months later it was time to fill the void. Replant. Replenish.

One day on a whim I said to my husband lets to go the shelter. I could sense we were needed. There he was. A pure bred Golden of 8 that no one seemed to want. Skinny, and covered with a rash, it was still obvious he had solid roots. I knew he would bloom where he was planted. My vet, neighbors, and all who met this footloose canine voiced that this senior boy was the happiest of Goldens. I retained physical custody of Molson, the Golden after my divorce. Molson would flourish anywhere. Love, long walks and a cool swim is what he lived for. Nearly 7 years he was with me. He had lived a great life and there was nothing more I could do. Another good-bye was said as we lay nose to nose. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Not one to be without a 4-legged companion I adopted again. The search was made with the assistance of several Golden Retriever rescue groups. I had fallen in love with several I had met ‘on line’ yet none seemed to be a match. I had to have a Golden and it had to be someone’s reject.

Finally, the call came; they had found ‘my dog’. A dog that needed to be loved. Heck, I could do that. This beautiful Red Golden was no longer wanted as her people opted for a loveable puppy after she spent years seeking their approval.

I would nourish this girl. With everything I plant, I say a sort of prayer. I speak softly to it and ask it to grow, flourish, and bring forth its beauty. It’s given a good beginning and tended to along the way. Some plants need more maintenance than others. I have always been a low maintenance gardener. This means to know not only the plant’s needs but also the needs of my client or myself if I am to tend it.

When a plant, shrub, or tree doesn’t thrive in my care, I wonder if there was anything else I could have done. After ruling out pests or diseases I try transplanting it, perhaps a severe pruning, and even taking a cutting to my local family owned gardening center for answers. I give it all I have. Sometimes nature has other ideas. To every thing a season. Perhaps the plant just wasn’t THE right plant after all. Another site may do the trick.

I had taken on a dog that needed more than I could truly offer her. I brought her to a point where she trusted me, would allow cuddles, and even learned to swim. Her leash manners were the best of any of my other Goldens. My garden and the time I could tend to her were too small. So, this weekend my Kayla was transported to Long Island Sound. I met her new gardener in Massachusetts. This wonderful woman will work with Kayla with a stronger yet still loving heart. She will have acres in which to explore, a pond to swim and the ocean a few feet away. Heck, perhaps I should have asked to be adopted as well.

My heart is heavy. Luckily, I have a career where I can truly lose myself. There are many other living things I can tend to. First, I must wash all the nose prints from my truck windows…………….

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
July 7, 2008


Art said...

I'm truly sorry that you were forced to give Kayla up.... I'm sure this was one of the hardest things you have ever had to do...

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, heartfully sad......you, of course, have our sympathies....heavy heart for sure, but life will go on...for you, and for all living things.....grow, grow, grow, my friend, and look back fondly.
Your friends, j & j

Anonymous said...

Not only have you captured the garden, but life.


Anonymous said...

Dear KCB,

Your "Facts of Life" was very touching and beautifully written. I plan to share it with a dear friend who also shared a very close relationship with her Golden, I am sure she will cry after reading it but it is OK because I did too. I stroked her Golden's head while it was being put to "sleep" at the vet's, a truly majestic dog. I should be so brave and dignified when my time comes.

By the way, keep writing in your spare time, you have a gift.

Regards, John