HELEN LANG: Dry flowers for a long winter ahead

Living in a condominium on one of the main streets of Sidney can be exciting

Living in a condominium on one of the main streets of Sidney can be exciting. Last night, as I lay in bed there suddenly were flashing blue lights being reflected off the ceiling. Of course I had to see what that was all about and I rushed to the window and peered out.

It was a police car with a green car stopped in front of it and a man getting out, to be met by the policeman already out of the cruiser … a takedown maybe? (I’m not quite sure what that entails, but I was certainly going to find out. I watch a lot of TV y’see.)

However their meeting was peaceful and after a few minutes of conversation, they both returned to their vehicles and drove off. Foiled again! I’m going to have to start watching cooking shows on TV instead of mysteries!

During what I try to make my daily walk, there is a large hydrangea covered in lovely flower clusters: pale pink, pale blue, mauve and a darker blue, all on the same bush. If you are fortunate enough to own a colourful hydrangea, maybe you’d consider drying some of these beauties for (forgive me) winter bouquets. I’m tempted to “remove” a few of this particular shrub’s flowers before they begin to go off after the first heavy rain, but the plant police would be sure to catch me and all my friends would be horrified that their garden lady would sink so low that she would steal someone else’s flowers. Perish that thought!

I suggested how to dry hydrangeas some years ago but maybe a repeat would be a good idea.

On a dry day, sometime after noon, when flowers are dry, cut several branches about two feet long, containing the blooms you have chosen, making your cut just above a leaf-node facing outward. Place the branches with the cut end in about an inch of water, in a container tall enough to keep branches upright. Put the container in a cool,dark, airy place (the garage). Leave until the water has evaporated, at which time the blooms should be dry and ready to go into a more-or-less permanent arrangement.

Years ago when we lived in Prince George, I cut a number of hydrangea branches from my parents’ big shrub to provide us with flowers during a long icy winter. They made the car trip lying on the back seat of the car and arrived In PG shrivelled beyond recovery. I was heart-broken, but it taught me a lesson and now I know better. I hope to pass on what I learned the hard way.

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Recipe – Peaches

This is a recipe for peaches which may be eaten fresh, or frozen in a plastic bag, or other container.

• Dip fresh peaches into a pot of boiling water for about 45 seconds, then into a pan of cold water. Now they should be easy to peel.

• Slice them into a bowl and sprinkle brown sugar over each layer. If you have no objection to hard liquor a quarter cup of white wine, or sherry may be poured over the sliced peaches. Leave for about half an hour, then stir to make sure they all have a turn in the sugar/sherry mixture.

• This makes a delightful dessert, especially over vanilla ice cream. Yes, its fattening, but when it comes to fresh peaches served in the above manner, who counts calories?

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