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Bean climbs with clematis

Something rather special happened last week, my long-time friend Lucy W. came out for tea bringing a large manila envelope with her addressed to me.

Something rather special happened last week, my long-time friend Lucy W. came out for tea bringing a large manila envelope with her addressed to me.

In it were a number of my ancient columns, which were interesting for me to read again after all those years. She had been cleaning out her papers and found them and decided I might like to see them again.

Not deathless prose, I'm sorry to say, but they seemed like old friends somehow.

I found a nice surprise this morning, a yellow snapdragon in bloom, two pale blue sweetpeas, and several of the geraniums as well. It makes trotting back and forth to get pitchers of water worthwhile.

There is also a gorgeous salmon coloured tuberous begonia, a yellow marguerite, the honeysuckle, and a pot of lavender all flowering. It may be a small garden, but it pleases me and it does smell lovely when I leave the door from the bedroom to the balcony open all night.

Ingrid B. gave me a strong healthy scarlet runner bean in a pot and it is now planted in with the clematis where it can climb up and share the same trellis, and I’m planting more shallots in the morning, gotta have some veggies as well as flowers.

I am thrilled with my two tomato plants whose flowers I've been pollinating with a small makeup brush. Today I found four small tomatoes, two of them the size of walnuts, but they were the big ones, the others are still sweet-pea seed sized, but, whoopie, they are there!

I water them daily, and fertilize them about every 10 days, using fish fertilizer one time and MiracleGro the next. I must remain calm though and not overdo the nourishment, or the plants will outgrow their large pot, and have nowhere else to live.

This afternoon I saw a perfect example of a wonderful home garden, large, but not too large, surrounded by an 18 foot high meticulously trimmed hedge. There is a fish pond, a greenhouse, an archway covered in roses, a separate dreamy rose garden, plus a vegetable garden that anyone who loves fresh vegetables would die for.

Both Janet and John work on this land, although I believe John’s specialty is the vegetable garden with its perfectly straight rows, and weedless expanse. In it are several rows of potatoes (different varieties) chard, carrots, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes (plus a number of strong ones in the greenhouse), plus basil and and peppers.

Outside in the main veggie garden are also squashes, cucumbers and garlic. I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention a few other things, but the whole place looks like a series of pictures in a good gardening magazine. It makes me long for more soil and the room to grow more than shallots, tomatoes and lettuce. Mind you, if I didn’t have lilies, sweetpeas, lavender, marguerites, begonias and snapgragons, there would be room for a few more edible plants. Oh well, there is still the Thursday evening market in Sidney, I should be able to get vegetables there.

The Peninsula Garden Club will meet Monday, July 11 at the Mary Winspear Centre at 7 p.m. Members and guests (guests $5) are invited to a summer social for delightful refreshments and an opportunity for meeting and greeting each other, no doubt with lots of conversation about the weather.

The July Parlour Show will once again amaze with what Peninsula gardens and gardeners are producing.

Around 8 p.m. Mike James and Nolan Gray from Wildwood Waterscapes will talk about Waterscapes in Our Garden, their installation, maintenance and enjoyment.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.