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.
I’m not sure who said it, why it was said, or if it ever was said, but somewhere in the archives within my mind the saying “You can’t go home again” reverberates. I recently proved this adage literally wrong for the third time in my ever lengthening life.
The ‘home’ of which I refer is not the town I was born in or the house in which I spent my formative years. No high school or reunion of similar sorts did I attend.
A house does not make a home. Home is a place of comfort, built of dreams, connected with memories, sealed with the sense of belonging. Haven’t you ever visited a place that once you stepped upon the ground, entered the room, or captured the view, you felt ‘home’?
Smells can also bring you home, figuratively, of course. Nevertheless, close your eyes and the spirits of your past is brought to life by a fragrance.
In June 2008 Master Gardeners throughout Falmouth presented ‘The Welcome Summer Garden Tour’. For the occasion I had the great time of serving as the on bus guide for members of local assisted living community. June blooming perennials abound with Peony serving as the queen of the garden. The perfume emitting from an heirloom variety sent one of our group ‘home’. She was close to tears as the floodgates opened spilling forth the memory of her grandfather’s garden. She spoke of rows and rows of pink fist size blooms ranging from bold magenta to a delicate pale that glowed white from a distance. Single Blossoms held high by proud dark green foliage. One memory was a conduit for another. A single whiff had brought her to a home that lay dormant for years.
Once upon a time, I experienced a homecoming of a similar nature. Early in my marriage my former husband and I delivered the Sunday Paper. Now this is an experience I could write about… Anyway, each Sunday I was the one to always deliver to a certain West End building. The first time I stepped into the vestibule, I was transported to another time, another place. It smelled just like my grandmother’s Brooklyn Apartment, the one my grandparents lived in when I was a child. The Thanksgiving and Christmas gathering place for a plethora of cousins, Aunts and Uncles. Since the Irish, especially my family, are not exactly known for their culinary accomplishments, it was not the aroma of baked delicacies or seasoned comfort foods that wafted the halls. It was the smell of an old building. Not mildew, but oiled wood, the muskiness of a life, a slight mustiness of an old book. Difficult to describe, familiar to detect. With each subsequent visit I once again was envious of my cousin Janine’s curls, the regrets and later joy at sitting at the kids table, the tapping of soles from patent leather shoes as we ran along the what seemed like mile-long hallways.
Fast forward to now. I have come home again.
It is not only the building of my once-again home, that holds my heart, embraces my return. It is the neighborhood.
Those of you who read my ramblings from time to time may remember I moved from Munjoy Hill last December. Recently I wrote of the good fortune at the opportunity to return the end of June. I’m all moved, not truly settled in fact but spirit. Strange thing is that not once as I pass by the door that I had entered and exited for nearly 5 years have I instinctively tried to open it. At least, not yet.
I wish I could say the same about the garden. It took no time for me to get my hands on it. Luckily the other tenants really hadn’t any interest. When the movers pulled up to my new/old place they found me franticly yanking grasses, weeds, and deadheading. As a professional gardener I never had much time to create the garden I wanted for my home that was someone else’s house. I was given a second chance. I hope not to blow it.
By the way, I took a break for a quick Google™ search and discovered "You Can’t go Home Again" is the title of a book authored by Thomas Wolfe. Now I feel better. Just wish he was around so I could tell him he was wrong.
In completion, I prided myself on not once complaining about the rain of this summer, that is, until now.
KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
July 26, 2009