Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Politics and Planting 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.

Doom & Gloom? That is all we seem to hear over the airwaves lately. The election is over, change is all around but we are told by talking heads and other pundits that it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. As a self-proclaimed talk-show junkie I vow to go (almost) cold-turkey. I find myself scanning stations looking for easy listening music without lyrics when motoring or staying glued to HGTV when at home. You see, I refuse to listen. I refuse to believe.

Yes, I have been called a dreamer. Without dreams man may never have walked on the moon. No, I’m not burying my head in the sand. Many defeats are the result of self-fulfilled prophecies.

In looking to the future it is abundantly clear that I am in a service industry that some feel is a luxury. Perhaps for a few but not for all. I do hope my clients will continue to see value in my services. I am blessed to love what I do so much that if I was to win the ginormous mega billion bucks I would still continue to maintain my client’s gardens. Having said that, it is my livelihood and I very much have to keep it alive which means making money and pleasing people. This is my quest for self. Enough about me!

My quest for you is to offer a way to look to all the positive possibilities that lie within your reach.

I can not change the world. However WE can change our little corner. How? Embrace our selves, families and our homes, whether it is a sprawling estate, cute bungalow, modest condo or a cozy attic apartment.

One way to embrace yourself is to take care of yourself. Pampering body, mind and soul is well, good for the body, mind and soul.

Not possible to engage a 5 star resort for all the luxuries we wish bestowed upon us? There are ways we can treat ourselves; soak in a scented bath, sip chamomile tea, grill a steak (outside!) , imbibe in merlot or whatever simple pleasures you enjoy. Go sledding with children, grand or otherwise, take in a budget matinee. Read a romance novel that is otherwise reserved for beachside reading. Listen to an audio book while performing mindless tasks. Folding Laundry, snow blowing, anyone? Polish or whatever is that you do with golf-clubs in preparation for that first round of the season. Sharpen your gardening tools (much more on this subject in future postings). Sift through seed catalogs and devour gardening magazines. Ah, thus is the segue for embracing the home.

This piece may appear best suited for a time closer to the gardening season nevertheless, summers in Maine may seem to take forever to arrive but once it does it is here! We go directly from winter to summer, though some do refer to the brief interlude between as ‘mud season’.

Start now to dream, plan and eventually create.

This may be the year you decide to forego a winter get-a-way or table the summer vacation usually spent any place but Maine. Don’t despair.

Vacations last only a week or two but summer technically is 13 weeks. Not to mention the beautiful weather that often occurs before the official start of summer. Moreover, is there any place more breath taking than Autumn in Maine? There is a reason why we call this state Vacation Land. So what if you must work outside the home for most of those weeks? All the more reason to pay homage to nights and weekends.

Transform your out-of-doors to a private oasis. Create different ‘rooms’, say one for dining, another for quiet reflection, perhaps a corner for entertaining or just toasting marshmallows. Even the smallest yard, patio or deck can be a welcome retreat.

Thinking of selling your house? Curb appeal has become a buzz word in the industry and so vital in our current market. Within my circle of friends, clients and acquaintances are those who are looking to sell ‘someday’. Most do not want to wait until the last minute to have their home show house ready. A mature well maintained landscape is more welcoming than one that hasn’t had a chance to come into its glory. In any situation, punches of color can always be added by way of annuals and/or adding containers overflowing with blooms.

A project to groom your gardens and landscape does not have to be complicated or expensive. It just may be possible to do all, most or even just a little yourself.
Start small.

Where do you begin? Take classes (another shameless plug?), or simply ask your local family nursery or garden center. They do maintain a smaller, yet just as knowledgeable and helpful, staff year round. Other options for the DYI person who may want a little more guidance: pay for a consultation to get advice how to make the most of what you already have enhanced with a few finishing touches, or commission a garden design complete with plant list that you can easily install alone or with a little help from your friends.

So, out with the Doom and Gloom think Groom and Bloom! The whole country will be a little healthier if we begin at home!

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
February 10, 2009

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