HELEN LANG: Blissful about those beautiful bulbs

I really love bulbs. They look like a collection of stones of different sizes but there the similarity ends

I’m waiting for Barbara (my eldest kid) to appear. She is coming over from Pender Island to see the bank. Evidently she has either lost her credit card, or left it in the bank and she plans to leave within a week, on a 40-day cruise from Vancouver to New Zealand. It takes this long because the ship goes several other places on its way down. She is flying back.

Great celebrations!

Her credit card was safely at the bank so she now can depart for New Zealand knowing that she can access her account if captured and held for ransom by a kangaroo (or are kangaroos only residents of Australia?).

Oh yes! This is not a family social, it’s a garden column. At this time of year there is not a lot of new stuff to chat with you about but I better try to find a few things!

There is a glorious golden yellow flower, fully out on the hibiscus which is still outside and should be brought in very soon.

I have spent a whole year worrying and watering this plant and there is one measly flower as a reward but it is really  a beauty and one must not be greedy, I suppose.

My guess is that if I were to fertilize the plant more regularly, there would be more flowers. I do know better but am inclined to sit back and enjoy the view of the condo gardens across the street. There are a few flowers and mostly shrubby things which remain green, but the dogwood leaves are gradually changing colour to a rusty red, which will be pleasant to see.

I can hardly wait for the arrival of bulbs in garden centres.

I really love bulbs. They look like a collection of stones of different sizes but there the similarity ends.

These plain, dusty objects hold such beauty it is almost unbelievable. I hope you’ll forgive me raving on (and on and on) about bulbs. They were what started me out in what was a small garden business in Sidney, a good many years ago.

Now I have to buy them and there isn’t a lot of room on a balcony, but never fear, I’ll find a spot for as many as possible.

I hope you love the small bulbs — they are so dainty and so lovely. The scilla, the crocus, snowdrops, winter aconites, chionodoxa, etc.

When they appear you know another marvelous gardening season has started.When you plant them in the fall it conjurs up beautiful pictures in your mind;  fields of daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilies, crocus. Well, maybe not fields — flower beds, more likely, or pots, or window boxes, just a container where you’ll be able to see them from a window as you go about your busy day or pass them on your way out to work. Some of them are not just pretty.  They smell divine.

My wonderful crop of beefsteak tomatoes (all five of them!) are a thing of the past.

All that trotting back and forth with the heavy watering can, didn’t do much for making giant fruit.

The tomatoes weren’t only “few and far between” but smaller than advertized. They were tasty enough but I could have eaten them all in one small salad. I’ll hope for better things next year (all gardeners say this!).

I’m tempted to soak the remainder of the package of the green pea seeds and plant them. Peas are pretty hardy.

The weather so far is wonderful and the seeds need to go into the soil. Actually they would still be viable next spring. I just need to keep them dry and they should be fine.

I’d really be pushing my luck to plant them this late in the growing season. Hard to wait, though, isn’t it?


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



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