HELEN LANG: Glorious weather has extended the garden season

One last blue clematis blossom is wafting about in a slight breeze on the balcony

One last blue clematis blossom is wafting about in a slight breeze on the balcony.

The clematis is over for this year with the exception of that bloom and a few sad-looking leaves, which are either already brown, or thinking seriously about turning that colour.

Then there is that happy amaryllis with the fat bud on the three foot tall stem — the one I keep threatening to bring inside but because of all this glorious weather have left it out (a dangerous decision, perhaps?).

I have planted a lot of crocus bulbs in the long planter that is still full of bocopa and a few nasturtiums still waiting to bloom (I wish they would hurry up before we have a change in the weather and they miss their chance!).

My friend Anni is taking me with her to a nursery to have a browse amongst this fall’s offering of bulbs. As I have mentioned before, bulbs were my first love and they still are! Bulbs were what started me opening a small garden centre in Sidney years ago. My dear husband Jim rented the spot to get me out of his garage so he could put his beloved car inside at night where it would be warm and protected from all things evil.

This was wonderful! I loved being a shop-keeper. It was a wonderful experience but I lost money each year until I woke up and realized it wasn’t really very sensible to continue with a project that might cause either murder, a divorce or bankruptcy. Things got pretty tense for a while!

I am especially interested in the small bulbs since I don’t have a lot of room but also because they are so lovely in pots where you can have them on stair landings, a deck, a balcony, massed under a fruit tree, or tucked just under a big shrub. Things such as scilla, hyacinths, dwarf daffodils, dwarf tulips and dwarf iris are a beautiful surprise peeking out from just beneath a shrub. More on this next week after a trip to at least one nursery! Oh, I can hardly wait! I wonder it is too dangerous to bring a credit card? Can I be trusted? I have to remind myself that buying them is one thing, but getting them planted is another matter entirely. However, there is lots of time. I might even buy some to plant in pots to be “forced’’ to bloom when days get bleak and cold.


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