Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Old Habits 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.

Old dogs can be taught new tricks. They can even win the most sought after prize as was evidenced by the Best in Show winner at the recently held Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

‘Stump’, a Sussex Spaniel, at the age of 10 years plus 6 weeks, is the oldest dog to ever have been bestowed the grandest of titles in “dogdom”. This feat in itself is remarkable added to the fact that Stump recently came out of retirement to become eligible for the “WKC”. The floppy eared, golden-red canine was forced to retire from the show ring when a mysterious illness had him facing death. A miraculous recovery allowed Stump to spend his days in a pampered pouch’s paradise.

With less than a week to show time, this often beribboned dog would be entered into the most prestigious dog show of them all. What prompted this rebirth? Since the show I have read countless quotes by Stump’s owner-handler. The word ‘insane’ and ‘crazy’ along with ‘miracle’ are peppered throughout the interviews. One of my favorite references is the simple ‘Why not?’

Then why do most humans hesitate at taking chances? Why do we become so set in our ways that life progresses as if on auto-pilot? For 17 years the Munjoy Hill neighborhood of Portland was my home. It would not be an exaggeration to say that at least 5 times a week I find myself driving the old familiar route to ‘the hill’.

Another old habit that transpired this past weekend was a visit to Skillin’s. For more years than I can remember, the middle weekend in February has been Open House weekend at Skillin’s in Falmouth. I knew quite well the event was rescheduled to March. I was drawn. A habit, a customary adventure. I needed spring. I was not disappointed.

Forsythia, Lilac, tulips and daffodils blinded me with color. I was intoxicated by the muskiness of mulch.

I milled with the crowds, made a purchase or 2 and smiled at the old familiar message in the bright new sign informing the masses it is time to purchase Spring Bonds. (Just click to purchase those Spring Bonds!)

Some familiarity is comfortable such as my visit to Skillin’s this past weekend. Other routines are just old habits that would best be served forgotten. Alternatively there are those at least put to rest for a while.

As gardeners we have more opportunities to begin anew than perhaps the average impassioned person. With a new season are new plants, new products, new ways in which to renew our landscape. This year Skillin’s changed the date of their Open House. This means I still have it to look forward to.

More than any other in recent memory I am energized by the reemergence of the gardening season. I am filled with new and exciting ideas. Creativity in not only the design but the economics. The more I research, the more I find my visions and wishes bring me around to tried and true ways. Organics. Natives. Natural. The co-mingling of the new and old. A blending.

An old dog found his way back to the show ring, being his first time in the canine ring of rings. A chance was taken. On a dream and a dare the deed was done. Stump is retiring for good this time.

Some of my current habits will be shelved. I will retain a few. Others will be fetched from a long ago storage. Would that make these old habits?

How are you planning for the planting season? Perhaps you too can come out of retirement, try the new, keep the old or revive the cherished.

Whatever the upcoming gardening season holds, it is never too soon to start. Never too late as well, as Stump so sportingly proved this year.

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
February 18, 2009

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this was one of your best KCB. You inspired me. Think I'll take the nickname "Stump" and see if I can pull it off for another year!