HELEN LANG: All plants must have water and every April 1 must have tricks

April 1 is one of my favourite days of the year, right up there with Christmas and Halloween.

Today is one of my favourite days of the year, right up there with Christmas and Halloween. A day when trickery is not only allowed, but encouraged!

It is April Fool’s Day.

My son is in Mexico but I have his telephone number and he is amused by my shenanigans, so I hope to fool him. He has a nice home in North Saanich. I hope to call him and ask him why he didn’t tell me he had sold the house. He will say, “Mother. what makes you think that?” and my answer will be, “Well I was just driving by it and there was a moving van in the driveway, the front door was open and a couple of fellows were carting your lovely new fridge out to the truck.”

When he stops screaming, I’ll say “April Fool’s!”

What he’ll say back is probably unprintable (this is a family newspaper, remember).

I lie in bed dreaming up tricks for this special day and sometimes laugh out loud at what I imagine will happen. One of my dearest friends hates what I do, feeling it is evil, but she comes from a different country where they are pretty serious most of the time. I like a bit of harmless fun!

Several years ago I called a keen bird watcher and asked him if he had watched the news on TV. When he said “no,” I said, “Well you missed something exciting. Remember the storm during the evening? Well, there are six pelicans on the piling at the Sidney wharf, blown off course by the storm.”

He gave a great shout and said, “Bye, I’m off to see them!”

I shrieked, “Stop, John! It’s April Fool’s Day!”

Another unprintable retort.

Is there something wrong with me, do you think?

I know! I know! This is supposed to be a garden column — so what can I tell you that is new and fascinating? Well I do have one bit of good news. The Horticultural Centre of the Pacific (referred to as “the Hort Centre” by long-time gardeners) is having an amazing plant sale (much of it from their own gardens) April 25 and 26. This is an event no keen gardener can afford to  miss. I hope to see you there!

My lovely yellow tulips have been blown apart by these spring gales but will be remembered with pleasure. There are still two cream coloured, streaked with red ones still flowering, but the balcony is looking pretty bare right now. Leslie, one of my daughters, is coming over from Vancouver and will take me to a nursery or two, to remedy the situation. I fancy several things: geraniums and anemones for sure, but I’m bound to see others that I must have. But I do have to save space for those three giant sunflowers I hope to grow this summer. Where I used to have almost unlimited space I now have to be more selective, or there won’t be room for me to move.

All plants must have water, but I suppose I could stick one of those watering wands out a window and reach many of them. However, I’ve got to have room for a chair. There’s no point in having even a modest garden if, once in a while, you can’t just relax and enjoy it.

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

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