Bright, cool weather is a fine change

There has been a definite change in our weather the past couple of days. It’s much colder.

Armistice Day is over, and for the first time since my darling Jim died, I didn’t attend the parade. I was sick in bed (I’m OK now).

Two of my kids went in my stead. All of those precious, dear men getting pretty ancient now but still with heads held high, proud to have served their country in its time of need, more than 60 years ago now. And still there are wars raging in parts of the world.

People never seem to learn,do they?

I have very little to tell you this week, having been lying in bed (or rushing to the bathroom) but there are two stately amaryllis plants nodding to one another as they stand on the coffee table in the middle of the living room. Because the daylight there is not very strong they have become enormously tall.

There has been a definite change in our weather the past couple of days. It’s much colder.

It’s time, then, to bring in any plants you’ve been treating to that summer in the sun.

Actually I hope you’ve already done this, brushing  off any  moss on the pots, along with the sow bugs and earwigs (who are hoping you won’t notice them, as they strive to get inside for a warmer winter than the one they face outside, tucked, shivering behind the garage door).

Actually its lovely outside, brilliantly sunny, but that wind is both strong and cold … a good day to sit in front of the fireplace with a good book.

This reminds me that I’m presently enjoying a book by Brian Brett about Trauma Farm, his beloved farm on Salt Spring Island. It rather reminds me of my hopeless attempts at urban farming, once in Prince George and the other in Qualicum Beach — both !of them resounding failures.

Before you go away, thinking me complete incompetent, I’d like to mention my success in Sidney. It’s mostly  the climate, of course, not just the poor, silly, wanna-be farmer (me).

I have a bouquet of choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom) which has beautifully scented the whole apartment, thanks to Anni. She brought these from Melissa Street where the shrubs I planted several years ago continue to flower so generously. Lovely of her to share!

My Pender Island daughter, Barbara, called today to tell me that she still has Zinnias flowering. I got even by telling her I had a rose-coloured geranium blooming on the balcony. Sometimes you gotta boast a bit (especially when your entire garden would comfortable fit on the surface of a large tree stump)!

Across the street, the gardens there have a number of pink-purple heathers in rampant bloom. They look lovely and completely content with the growing chill in the weather.

Actually, if I can find it, I have a list of heathers, at least one of which will bloom during every month of the year. Bunty, a friend of mine, had just such a bed of heathers and it was a marvel.

Being a Scot, she knew all about heathers. Being a Canadian, blissfully ignorant about heathers (among other things), I planted several of them in a small group in a bed facing south. They hated it there, and made up their minds to die, which, over a couple of years, they did. I missed them, of course and I’m sure my Sottish ancestors were horrified but I knew when I was defeated and finally planted bulbs for the spring and iris for the rest of the year.

They, at least, had the decency to survive for a couple of seasons.


Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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