Tiptoeing around the begonias

That snow and sleet were a bit of a shock weren’t they?

I must admit I feel a little foolish after going on as I have about spring, and then it not only snows, but the wind appears to have come directly off the face of an iceberg. That was several days ago, and things have warmed up a bit, but it is still pretty foul, with rain blowing in against the windows and drenching the plants on the balcony (which actually saves me having to water them).

I was given a tulip bulb, and the pretty pottery container to house it. It is growing madly in the living room window and may even outstrip the tulips outside which are now a couple of inches high. My miniature orange tree now has seven ripe oranges on it, about the size of table tennis balls, and there are seven more that are still very hard, green and quite small, but they will grow bigger I’m sure. I tried to buy the canned marmalade pulp to give me a start, but couldn’t find any. I’ll have to keep looking as these small oranges on my tree would only make enough marmalade to cover three pieces of toast, and that just wouldn’t be enough to make all the effort of making marmalade worth while.

I believe I’ve already told you that I bought three begonia bulbs and put them to sprout in a pot of peat. So far nothing has happened, and its been more than a week, so, of course I begin to worry. I think I’ll put them on top of the hot water tank and see if that will get them started.

No such luck! The tank is so well insulated that the top is actually chilly, so I have now upended a plastic waste-basket and located it in front of the baseboard heat in the hall and put the pot of begonias on that. Now, if I don’t trip over it in the dark, maybe these reluctant begonias will begin to co-operate and produce some growth.

It’s silly of me to get so concerned over three bulbs when other places on earth and the people there, are in real and terrible trouble. Sorry.

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