Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Botanical Glee

The Key West Botanical Garden on Stock Island was on display this past weekend as part of the round robin of Green Living and Energy Education events that are carried out each winter. The garden itself has a long history as it was built originally as part of the effort to revive Key West during the last Great Depression. At the time North Stock Island was a wilderness and they harnessed more than 50 acres for the gardens. Nowadays it's rather more modest, around 15 acres which is still double the size of 50 years ago when the gardens were at their smallest. Guide books will tell you the Botanical Gardens are wedged between the golf course and the aqueduct pumping facilities which would be the blue building below:Cheyenne doesn't do well in crowds, tugging at her leash and getting distracted by smells and intrusively sticking her nose in people's crotches, so I took her for a walk before leaving her in the car. A plan that worked well for all concerned in the cool breezy afternoon.My wife was slightly shell shocked when I found her at the entrance, she had met an old friend from California who left Santa Cruz a year ago and has been living in Key West. By the time I strolled up Eleanor was long gone. Perhaps the meeting was a myth. GLEE was there handing out leaflets.I wish I liked Green Living and energy Education more than I do. It's not that they are useless but they seem to me to cater more to the feel good crowd than actually focusing their energy on getting stuff done. Recycling rates in the Keys are abysmal, and I see it at my own job where despite my best efforts my young colleagues, destined to inherit the earth after my generation is dead, have no clue what constitutes recycling versus trash. Nor do they care to learn. At the same time they know that City Commissioner Mark Rossi owns the Rick's complex on Duval Street and those bars like all the others, toss out empty beer bottles by the ton. So, what's the point of carefully rinsing and recycling your weekend six pack? Good question. Don't expect GLEE to confront anybody in power seeking answers. But if you need your bike fixed roadside there was a rather cute answer on display:
This is a feel good crowd on the elderly side of heavy metal so the music was light and refreshing, unlike the beer which was refreshing, yes, but not light..
No self respecting Key West event would be alcohol free, and Magic Hat #9 or Burnt Lager were the choices from the Porch, the new place making noise for itself at Caroline and Duval. I couldn't resist a magic hat and it was strong enough I had my wife drive us home.
There were children on display too, frolicking in blissful ignorance of the Federal Reserve's latest efforts to debase their currency.
As alternatives to Honda Metropolitan scooters these things lack any glimmer of pizazz or fun. They look like scooters for the infirm. But they are electric and therefore supposedly desirable.
Two blondes, one cheerful and friendly and ready with her tongue and the other dazed or supercilious. Cheyenne sniffed my legs with profound suspicion when I got home.
Having forgotten to load up with debased currency we were flat broke after buying my beer so we took a free walk through the gardens.
There is not one corner of Key West that is chicken free.
Magic Hat #9, not at all hoppy, a reminder that happiness is to be found in a plastic cup from time to time.
We used to come out here occasionally and eat pizza with friends, in the bad old days before reformers got their hands on the gardens, and kicked out the bums and the turtle thieves, put up a tall fence and started charging admission.
I know progress makes things better, and I know whining about the past is tedious, something I really try not to do, but a walk through the Botanical Garden sets me off sometimes. Everything looks very nice and proper now, and students come and learn stuff and no one steals the turtles to make soup but there was something nice about being alone in here at the end of the day.
I always thought growing sprouts was simple, I used to do it at school with wet newspaper but there was a class going on and we watched for a while.
I might have preferred a lecture on starting a mass movement to encourage Keys Energy to pursue solar power, or ways to persuade bars to buy bottle crushers to recycle their glass, but one can't expect too much radicalism in a town devoted to hedonism. And boy, that beer really was good. I'm going to have to visit the Porch pretty soon. Just to check up on their recycling program you understand.