Dandelions spell spring for garden writer

Tulips blooming now, must be well cared for this time of year

The earliest tulips (Kaufmaniana) are finished now, and need to be fertilized and watered weekly until they have died back. Cut off the faded blooms, but save all the foliage which will plump up the bulbs. Because there is so little room on the balcony, I’ll move mine into a smaller pot to make room for the next lot of plants.

Right now there are the most glorious Darwin tulips blooming, great big, strong plants with huge orange-red flowers, whose botanical name eludes me, to my shame. To my amazement a clematis has appeared in with them. Beats me where it came from.

The long narrow planter too, is lovely right now, with pale blue anemone Blanda in bloom, together with the scilla, chionodoxa, and Spanish bluebells, all blues in a variety of shades. I seem to be somewhat hung-up on blues don’t I? But blue is so lovely in a garden, isn’t it?

Friday the 13th turned out to be my lucky day. A group of lovely women, belonging to a writers’ group arrived for our weekly meeting bearing flowers. There were dark pink camellias, white ones, an assortment of pansies and a medley of bluebells, plus yellow and bronze wallflowers. They spoil me and I love it.

I know people hate dandelions, especially in a lawn, but they are a joy to behold in the wild in the smallest of spaces; between tiles in a sidewalk, under fences, amongst gravel on a roadside. To me they spell spring. I’m told that in England they are regarded as an annual and welcome in a flower garden, but I’ll have to check this out with some English friends before I’ll believe it. They produce such a large number of parachute-equipped seeds, they can become a menace in a well-kept garden.

My long-time unkempt Tibouchina is dying. I have done everything I can to keep it going, but it seems to have made up its mind to die. I’m afraid once a plant has made this decision you might as well let it go. I shall miss its glorious large purple blooms borne on the tips of branches. Shall I put it outside where I can’t watch its decline, or watch it waste away in the bedroom where every time I look at it, I feel guilty of some unknown crime? What did I do wrong?

Maybe I should use my darling Jim’s answer to questions he was asked in my absence. He always repied, either “too much water” or “not enough water” and it seemed to work.

At least no one appeared at the door threatening to shoot him!


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



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Saanich police search for potential victims, witnesses after series of unprovoked assaults

Police are looking for more information about two incidents from June 12

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read