What happened to a dozen?

I’m headed for Vancouver tomorrow, to spend a night with one daughter and then go with her to the airport to meet the youngest in the family who is returning from a month in Australia.

I’m headed for Vancouver tomorrow, to spend a night with one daughter and then go with her to the airport to meet the youngest in the family who is returning from a month in Australia.

I shall be very glad to see her, a month is a long time, and Australia is a long way away. I know this is a garden column, but a bit of something else might even be a relief.

There is not a lot to talk about at this time of year, except planting bulbs, or advice about house plants.

This reminds me that the hoya is flowering again, and the perfume at night goes right through the condo. It is a lovely fragrance, but scarcely noticeable during the day, maybe overwhelmed by the smells of cooking muffins, stew, porridge and all sort of things.

The orange tree is also flowering, as well as bearing fruit. I put it outside on the balcony for the summer and notice that some of its leaves now have a greyish tinge, maybe a slight sunburn, but it seems in good shape.

I have three big African violets that look ready to bloom, and of course that mad hibiscus just keeps on providing at least a flower a day. I really want to prune one long branch on it, back to a cluster of leaves closer to the main stem, but it keeps sneakily adding another bud, which I simply cannot bear to sacrifice in the interests of having a well shaped plant.

I seem to have to talk about bulbs, maybe because this is how I started gardening on Melissa Street, and what drove me to open a garden shop.

It was a case of a shop or a divorce, because my darling himself hated having customers come to the garage to purchase bulbs, especially when we were having dinner, and I would leave my meal to congeal on the plate while I happily sold a dozen crocus to some satified customer.

My prices were ridiculously low because I had no overhead to worry about, so naturally people didn’t mind shopping in a garage, because they always got a bargain. Those were the days!

Now you can pay a king’s ransom for 10 tulips, no more bulbs by the dozen. I wonder who thought of selling 10 instead of the old dozen? When I talk like this some of my friends say, “Helen, come into the 21st century.”

As my friend Pene says: “Don’t wanna, don’t hafta. Ain’t gonna!”

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