HELEN LANG: It’s spring but still decidedly chilly for some flora

I’ve just consulted the thermometer, and it says it’s 22 degrees, but I don’t believe it.

I decided I was losing my mind.

Sitting at the computer trying to think of something new and interesting to write to you about, I noticed that the lamp shade was trembling … or was it? I looked away for a few seconds and then looked again. Yes, it was very delicately shaking — it stopped — then the shaking began again. Stopped. Then shook again.

Was it an earthquake? There was no longer the huge machine working next door that had caused the shaking a week or so ago. It had gone on to another job. So … what was it?

I couldn’t decide whether to make an escape using the stairs — not the elevator, it might get stuck between floors if there really was an earthquake — or wait until I was certain. I remembered the true story of the elephants who headed for the hills in the Phllipines just prior to a large earthquake.Somethng had alerted them … perhaps a faint trembling?

I went to the TV hoping for information, but the usual family disputes, or love affairs were still playing out … no news of any kind. So I must have been dreaming. Anyone else have the same experience?

 

•   •   •   •

 

The clematis growing outside one window still has those lovely fat buds but no sign of further action.

I guess it’s not quite warm enough yet for it to bloom.

In the meanwhile there are still five of those lovely large orange tulips flowering, (they like the weather this cool) a couple of narcissus, a pansy (in a planter where it doesn’t belong), several purple petunias which survived the so-called winter and  now looking decidedly happy to still be alive.

I’m happy to see them, too!

It is a little desert-like right now out on the balcony but I’ve planted those nasturtiums in hopes of more flowers before too long and if it were just a few degrees warmer I’d be out there seeding those carrots and the three sunflowers I keep promising.

I’ve just consulted the thermometer, and it says it’s 22 degrees, but I don’t believe it.

It feels decidedly chilly to me and I don’t see any burly men jogging by on the sidewalk,   wearing shorts. And most of the women carrying shopping bags have their coats on. I have to keep reminding myself that it is actually spring.

This is rhubarb month and it is now ready to be pulled and made into those delicious pies.

“Pulled” is the way to harvest rhubarb — don’t cut the stalks off, as you are bound to leave a small piece behind, which will rot, and that’s not good for rhubarb.

Although the leaves are poisonous, I am told they may be added to the compost, but I was never tempted to do so.

They fit perfectly well and looked quite festive in the garbage can.

 

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

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