Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gray Skies by KCB

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 proud to tell you that KCB rules as the 2008 Maine Master Gardener of the Year. And we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

Is it really February? One of my favorite months for 2 reasons; first, it is the shortest month. Once February is over it astoundingly will be March and we know what takes place in March. Secondly, Spring Bonds at Skillin’s are now available. Last year I wrote of a Valentine’s Gift that was just such a Spring Bond. Perhaps it was the bond that set me on the course of one of my true passions?! Inspirational gifts for sure.

It is hard to believe that I have been writing for the Skillin’s Garden Log for over a year. In reference to the theme of my last writing, this is the longest relationship that I have had in recent memory. Well, other than clients and other assorted special people in my life. Please allow me to continue.

I consider myself very lucky to be a part of Skillin’s informative e-newsletter. Thank you all, especially the Skillin’s family and those who have introduced yourself to me along the way.

I must admit, I have found myself a bit antsy lately with much more than too much time on my hands. It is the first time in 6 years I am not employed at the call center of one of the largest outdoor and clothing catalogs. Nor do I have a dog to walk thus I find myself not wanting to do much of anything. Not good for body or soul.

How many of you find yourself in similar situations? Oh, you may have a job to go to, a family to tend to and a pet or 2 to feed and exercise, yet still feel, well, that there is something missing. There just might be.

If you are reading this you have some kind of affinity to gardening. Even those who limit themselves to house plants sense the stir of the need for something more. Not being a houseplant person, those that in my acquaintance are still somewhat daunted by the winter months. After all, keeping the house warm either robs the air or produces too much humidity. Gray days such as the one that is this day, donot exactly produce the needed sunlight. Moreover, what about those who enjoy giving their house plants a taste of fresh air? They must wait until well past frost.

For us out of door gardeners what is there to do? Lots!

The seed catalogs have either landed in our mail box or are on their way. It has been revealed before that I am not a sower of seeds, yet I anticipate these catalogs with as much vigor as the next wine tasting at my neighborhood market. I almost said the Sears ‘wish book’ but I believe I used that analogy last year. By the end of the season these bastions of bountiful by-laws of horticultural tips are priceless. I do admit, once you sign-up for one you will receive dozens more. If you prefer to have less clutter and go green (Note: most of the catalogs today are produced on recycled or post consumer paper) many of these same seed catalogs may be viewed on the company’s web site.

Other publications have me chomping at the bit, Nursery Catalogs. The Skillin’s Nursery and Perennial Catalogs are among my reference tools when out in the field. Make sure you pick these up as soon as they are hot of the press.

Ok, reading catalogs is satisfying; they showcase new as well as tried and true treasures. Nevertheless, is that all there is to filling the gaps until we can dig in the dirt?

No. There is much to bide the time, How about pouring some tea, snuggle in front of the fireplace and review your past gardening journals. What, you do not keep a journal? No time like the present to begin. I’ve written and spoke of the benefits and pleasures of the garden journal prior to this; it is a thread that I weave through many of my writings and teachings. Well worth the minimal effort.

Want a break from reading and/or writing? Take a walk, if the snow is too deep to walk around your property then walk within. Stop at each window and take in the views. I am such a proponent of landscaping for the 4-seasons. After all, where do we spend most of our time during these winter months? Who should your landscape benefit? Curb appeal is great nevertheless shouldn’t it be you who reap the most? If your property does not include Red-twig Dogwood, Virbunum, Winter Berry, Ornamental grasses, Hawthorne or Crab Apple trees, to name just a few, than make a plan to add one, two or more to your landscape next season. Not only will you enjoy the movement, color and texture, not to mention height, throughout the year, it is during our stark winters that they are the most striking-a treasure trove of goodness for our feathery wild life friends.

What else to do? Attend classes and workshops. Could I possibly be doing some self-promotion? Yes and no. It is no secret I facilitate some classes at Skillin’s in addition to a couple of Adult and Community Ed classes for surrounding towns. Yet, I look forward to being a participant as well. No matter how many Skillin’s classes I had (and continue to) attend over the years, with each and every one I learned something new while having the reaffirmation of tips which bear repeating. Classes such as those that are offered for FREE would cost upward of $50 or more thru other venues.

It is never too late to plan for the future. Tomorrow is another day. I will not be despondent over the results of the Big Game as my team did not make it this year. The temperatures are rumored to be a little warmer. Moreover, I will don something a little more geared towards the real world than comfy sweats and well- worn fleece. I will give myself the treat of a long walk. Spring is coming and I must get in shape. Whether the sky be blue or gray, I will embrace.

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
February 3, 2009

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