HELEN LANG: German gardener’s landscaping stuns fellow gardener

The day I write this column is stunningly beautiful, a complete change from the dull days we’ve been enduring lately. Maybe a good day to put on your work gloves, pick up your clippers and head outside to see what may need a bit of repair after the winter. Probably not much, as it was not a hard winter – cold at times, but nothing like some winters we have survived fairly recently.

Some good news, and some not so good on the balcony this a.m. First the good: a couple of the scilla are coming up, one even showing a bit of the vivid blue so lovely in a garden. The not-so-hot news is that only two of the three giant allium bulbs given to me by a dear woman in Central Saanich whose name I cannot, for the life of me, recall (although I think I could find her house if I had a car) came up. She gave me more than three, but I shared with my Pender Island daughter. I figured three on a balcony was plenty, but two will be wonderful.

Last week Annie, who lives on Melissa Street, took me with her to see an amazing garden on Malaview Avenue. The gardener was called Heide, and was leaving for Germany the next day. She has a lovely neighbour who reached over the fence and presented each of us with a festively wrapped cluster of candies. A lovely surprise.

Heide’s front garden was, at that time, full of lavender plants and snowdrops, but the back garden was amazing. Through it was a winding brick path, laid when the couple dismantled a brick chimney.

The whole place was full of lovely things, a clump of bamboo, two variegated hops climbing up a fence, lilacs, roses, a variety of shrubs (I can’t remember them all).

Wait, there was a climbing hydrangea scaling the back wall of the house, and on the front of the house a magnificent climbing rose called Mermaid (Annie remembered her name).

Butcharts, you’ve got competition.

Russell Nursery, 1370 Wain Rd., North Saanich is holding free classes every Saturday at 10 a.m.

Saturday, March 17, Greg Cook will discuss the care and use of mason bees. I’ll have more information on following classes in later columns. Call 250-656-0384 to reserve a spot and please do it soon. These classes are very popular.

Once again, the Saanich Peninsula 4-H club is selling cow manure as a fundraiser. This is some of the best. Orders can be placed by phoning 250-652-1682 by March 23, or emailing cows4hockey@shaw.ca. The cost is $4 for a generous bag and they will deliver to your door March 31.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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