Robins are a sure sign of spring

I sincerely hope none of you rushed to grab your secateurs, don a coat and tear outside to chop off your clematis. This cutting off only applies to some clematis, those that bear their flowers on new growth produced this spring. Some clematis simply can’t survive such a dramatic pruning. I speak from unhappy experience.

I sincerely hope none of you rushed to grab your secateurs, don a coat and tear outside to chop off your clematis. This cutting off only applies to some clematis, those that bear their flowers on new growth produced this spring. Some clematis simply can’t survive such a dramatic pruning. I speak from unhappy experience.

Himself was dead set against anything that had the unfortunate tendency to grow up over the roof and obscure his darling skylight. It was right above his desk. I had wisteria (which is a rampant grower) on the pergola beside the front path, and every year it headed directly for his skylight. Each year it was severely cut back the minute it hit the gutter, never mind the roof. But I also had a clematis Montana rubens planted by the front steps, and each spring it grew madly (and bloomed beautifully) on the roof right beside his skylight (and sometimes on it). One spring day, while I was out somewhere, he took my secateurs and cut the whole plant right back to the ground. It died. I loved him too much to divorce him, but murder did cross my mind! It broke my heart, especially when another Montana down the street bloomed profusely, every year while we no longer had one. That was a special clematis too. One year a robin built her nest in the vine, right beside the front door. When we’d go up the steps to the door she would watch us carefully with her shining black eyes, never moving a feather, as we passed. We started to use the back door during the time she sat on her eggs, so she could relax. We were impressed that she had trusted us enough to nest so close. Her mate was so protective that he drove off any other robin, including his reflection in the den window, who he was sure was another robin trying to lure his mate away. Maybe that’s where the expression bird brain came from. To add to this, yesterday while out walking I distinctly heard a robin call. Spring cannot be far away

The Peninsula Garden Club will meet at the Mary Winspear Centre, Monday, Feb. 14. The Gardener’s Forum starts at 6:30 p.m. when Joyce Scott, PGC member, will take us through the process of growing bean sprouts. Please bring your own jar and enjoy fresh sprouts on your cheese sandwich in less than a week.

At 7:30, main speaker Mike Anderson, Head Aquarist at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre will be speaking about the marine plants and algae of the Salish Sea. He will also provide facts about eelgrass and its importance to our ecosystems.

Following the talk, enjoy a short coffee break, plus an opportunity to see what has been entered in the Parlour Show, talk with master gardeners, and with luck, win one of the many plants being raffled. Admission for non-members is $5, applicable to a membership if purchased by the next meeting. Everyone is welcome.

Do you have a gardening question? Call Helen at 250-656-5918.