A growing concern

Because our house is in a constant state of renovation, we spend most of our time at the hardware store. Parks Hardware in Orono, to be exact. It's a magical place — old-fashioned and sweet, but with the best of the new. Perhaps we're smitten because two of the Mavens, the now-married Kristen and Jason, actually met there, and the third Maven, Shawn, worked there. Although we have a sentimental attachment, that's not the only reason to love Parks.

Unlike the big boxes, when we ask where we can find a cat's claw, we are led to a cat's claw, not a display of hammers. Owner Lin White and his phenomenal staffers Ian, Jay, Hanna and Bob, believe in this little thing called service. You may have heard of it. They greet you by name and actually help you. They also believe in quality at a reasonable price.

Though the Bangor area has a wonderful array of greenhouses, we always go to Parks when it's gardening time. And right about now, it's gardening time. We're drawn in by the organically grown seedlings from Claire Ackroyd and her crew. We love the Haws watering cans and the fine hand tools. But most of all, we totally dig the bulk seeds.

The old-fashioned seed cabinet, with its jars and glass-fronted drawers full of seeds, beckons when you enter the store. You can buy sweet peas by the scoop, radishes by the spoonful, lettuces and carrots and nasturtiums. This year, Lin has expanded his selection to include more varieties, as well as a bounty of cold crops such as kale, collard greens and mustards.

There are other places in Maine to buy seeds in bulk — Allen, Sterling and Lothrup is one of our faves (for more information, click here). But Parks will always be in our hearts — and our gardens.

Parks Hardware is located at 33 Mill St. in Orono and is open from 8 to 6, Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 866-7811.


M. Bouchard said...

I love springtime at Parks too! The seed cabinet and big barrels of grass and clover delight me to no end. The great selection of nifty kitchen stuff, hand thrown pottery and Radio Flyer toys fills us with joy too! Parks Hardware, we love you!

Jj Starwalker said...

This sounds a lot like my favorite hardware stores in other areas where I have lived. We'll pay them a visit on our "Bangor area run" Tuesday! Thanks!

(and for local to Corinth needs, I can't praise HomeTown Hardware enough! They were even open Easter Sunday when I needed flats for transplanting some seedlings. If I am not planning a trip to Bangor area, I ALWAYS try them first!)

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