Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just Imagine!

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. KCB can also be found at

For all the things I do not possess there is one thing I truly do not lack, an imagination. I cannot remember a time when I did not create a world inside my head. Oh what a world that was! Whom am I kidding? Still is. Most perhaps would not reveal information such as this to a best friend yet here I am putting it out on the World Wide Web via

I can thank my father for this ‘gift’. The nightly ritual of reading me fairy tales was never boring as twists, turns and endings changed with the flip of his imagination. His other talent, sketching, I do not share. Each pencil stroke displayed minute details of the subject leaving nothing to the imagination. Schooners and Sailing vessels were his favorite. He never sailed, another commonality. Blessedly, I still have time and the desire.

While the ability to draw would surely benefit my chosen profession, my imagination is put to play nearly every day, in season or not. I look at a parcel of land and suddenly it is brought to life in my mind. If it is a blank slate, the possibilities are endless. Overgrown or neglected, the original vision is revealed. In need of change, I can do that. All without lifting a finger.

Sad to say, lately there is something that has stunted my imagination in as much as I am limited based on points. I am talking about a certain game that can be found on Facebook. It has to do with farming, planting and harvesting crops; accumulating animals and reaping rewards as the result of ‘selling milk and eggs’. My problem with this game is that I am more involved in the landscaping aspect. The fruits, vegetables and other farm basics are just a means to my end. With each sale I purchase water features, benches in which to relax and shade trees with colorful foliage. Regrettably I have not been able to accumulate enough points to purchase the Finishing Touches I most covet, such as arches, gates, hedges, lamp posts, or birdbaths. Heck, I don’t even have a house, never mind the luxurious manors of some of my ‘neighbors’. A Facebook friend did ask me to become a ‘neighbor’ in game more to my liking, a world existing of colorful gardens and romantic settings. I declined. I will channel my imaginative juices elsewhere. Where it should be, real gardening.

I am asking all my readers to play along. No, I will not ask you to ‘friend’ me or be my ‘neighbor’. Yes, I know it’s nearly February. It is the perfect time to use our imagination. Another yes, you do have one. Every gardener does. There is not a seed sowed or a shrub planted that does not bring forth the hoped for results. Even the taste of the ripened tomato is imagined in June. Why wait till then to exercise this gift?
Imagine changing, enhancing or simply adding to your current landscape. Why not convert some lawn to a new flower bed? How about an interesting cluster of shrubs boasting of fragrant and colorful blooms? Include a kidney shaped berm as a display for plants known for their foliage; a tapestry of color, form and texture? Isn’t this fun?

Turn off the television, forget the laundry, let the broken cabinet hinge wait. Overlook other domestic chores, for a while, at least. Bet you can imagine how blissful this would be! Close out of chat rooms, however, do not logoff your computer; it is an invaluable resource to spur your imagination beginning with this very site. Join me in a cup of tea, or if you prefer, a glass of wine. Let the imagination flow.

I begin with the endless supply of seed and nursery catalogs that made their first debut days after Christmas. Joined by gardening magazines they inhabit a corner of my office and await their mission. I am armed with scissors, double sided tape, glue sticks and my various journals. YOU DO KEEP A GARDEN JOURNAL, DON’T YOU? If not search nooks and crannies, desk or junk drawers for manila folders, composition books or blank paper. No time like the present to begin.

As I look through the various catalogs I cut out pictures that attract me. I make sure to include the supplied description of the chosen plant, shrub or tree. Note of caution, the majority of catalogs include reliable information regarding growth habits, zones and other vital statistics. Others only include the physical description. Aggressive growth can translate to ‘invasive’. This is where the internet, books and other reference sources are priceless. As much knowledge as we may accumulate I personally confirm stats on new or unfamiliar ornamentals. Heck, I even find myself verifying things I think or should know.

The aforementioned publications celebrate in announcing new varieties and species. I make a special note in my journal of the most desirous. I imagine where they can be used; there is almost always a space. I also keep a wish list of plants that I will purchase or special order from my local nursery. I am a firm believer in buying local.

When tired or not in the mood for research I simply arrange the pictures on blank sheets of paper or 8 ½ x 11 poster board. I mix and match color combinations, foliage textures, height and shapes. Various bloom times should be considered when arranging. For those truly creative, use an actual picture of your current landscape as background, an exercise that reminds me of Colorforms™, a childhood game. Let your fingers do the placing while you create a one dimensional Lilliputian version of your landscape. Include decorative elements, water features, even structures. Oh and don’t forget the plants. We all can dream and as a local television add proclaims, ‘just imagine’.

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
January 28, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good one, KCB.
Great title, great garden log! It certainly turned my imagination on.
Also great to have you contributing again!Missed all of your great ideas.