HELEN LANG: Home was a busy place with kids coming and going

My dear husband used to say, “At least no-one is in jail!”

This is a big day for my son.

I also have a step-son, a step-daughter and the three girls I personally produced. It was quite a large household,but a happy one (most of the time). There were rows, of course, and threats of “running away” but no one ever left except to go to school or to work somewhere else.

Why leave? The sheets were changed regularly, the food was good, most meals on time, a pretty relaxed curfew (for the boys — much stricter for the girls, which all parents understand but all girls don’t until they become parents themselves). But it was an interesting place with young people coming and going all the time and no one in serious trouble.

My dear husband used to say, “At least no-one is in jail!”

These kids often brought friends home with them and young men always seem to be hungry. The oven seldom had time to cool off between batches of cookies or muffins. The girls, not so much. But the boys would eat anything that wasn’t moving. Fortunately I liked to cook and enjoyed the visiting young people. I knew a lot of them from my job at the high school. I will have to make two cakes, since my son Paul’s wife has a birthday three days before his. Or maybe I can get away with making only one if I put on an extra layer of chocolate icing and buy more ice-cream!

I keep forgetting that this is supposed to be a gardening column.

Pansies, roses, rhubarb, spinach, potatoes, honey-suckle and turnips. That should cover the garden aspect for this week. No? Well, OK.

I wanted to mention the wonderful array of bright red geraniums that are all flowering at the same time on the balcony. It looks like a war zone … many wounded but no one dead, thank goodness!

I think it’s time for me to go to a nursery and get some pansies (which should bloom for ages at this time of year) and possibly some snapdragons, a few asters and some marigolds to keep the balcony garden looking pretty and alive until, oh, late fall.

A nursery will provide you with other ideas, so a visit is probably in order! It’s always fun, anyway, but you curse yourself when you get home and have to get down on your knees and start to put them in the ground.

Why, oh why did you buy so many plants? And I think you have forgotten to get something attractive for those pots by the front door … which means another trip to the nursery . But, this time leave your wallet at home or you’ll end up buying more and every single one will need to be put in soil. Remember your sciatica, dear! Oh! I know you are not listening! I tried to warn you, but (as usual) you weren’t listening! Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from me! The Tylenol is in your dresser, second drawer down!

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

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