Respect the raspberries

Garden columnist Helen Lang gets a taste of summer.

At last someone has asked me how to get her hibiscus to bloom. I could have hugged Judy J. for giving me the opportunity to boast about this crazy wonderful plant of mine.

At the present time it is flaunting one full-blown bloom and six big buds, and this has been going on for months. Sometimes plants produce like this just before they die… my guess is that they are trying to set seed so that there will be heirs to follow their magnificent behavior. I hope this isn’t going to be the case with this amazing plant.

For those who may be curious, every day I carry it out to the kitchen sink and put it in several inches of water, and also water it, at the same time, from the top. I rarely fertilize it, but when the spirit moves me, it gets a dilute watering with fish fertilizer. Other than that it sits in the direct sun in a west facing window, and miracle of miracles it continues to flower month after month. It has to be the Western exposure that activates it, and perhaps the daily bath, but I take no credit, except that I do tell it that I think it is beautiful, and it probably likes that.

Finally I have a few sweetpeas flowering, mostly pale blue but there is one pink, and they are promised to a friend for his dear wife who does love sweetpeas.

They do smell wonderful, don’t they? I picked them today as it is so hot on the balcony they wouldn’t last overnight. Now they are sitting in a glass of water in the fridge, shivering maybe, but better that than cooking. Joan and Stewart took me to a farm on our way home from breakfast, and I bought some chard, carrots, beets and a small box of raspberries, I think they cost 20 cents a berry, but they are the first of a new season, so I shall treat them, and eat them, with respect!

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