HELEN LANG: January and February bring us new seed options

The start of another year and we wonder what it will bring.

The start of another year and we wonder what it will bring.

World peace? Beautiful idea but, unfortunately, unlikely. Some country is angry with another and away we go again — another war! However small, they cause terrible suffering, usually amongst those least able to survive the turmoil: children, the elderly and the handicapped, with none of them responsible for another ugly war. When will mankind learn to work things out peacefully?

Thank God Canada is not trying to expand its borders, attempting to be the biggest bully, the strongest nation on earth. We are ready to defend what is ours, but we are using words, not weapons. Long live our wonderful, peaceful country!

This month and February will bring us new seed catalogues to scan as we sit by the fire, dreaming of spring and digging the good earth, quite forgetting our arthritis, our other aches and pains … for the moment anyway. I must remember to get more pain pills, I think the bottle is nearly empty. And like all good Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, we need to be prepared.

I have a couple of magnificent Amaryllis (both red) in bloom right now, gifts from other years, and they are glorious.

If you have amaryllis in bloom, do keep them watered until they begin to die back, then give them one feeding and put them somwhere out of sight while they perish. Then store the bulbs in a cool dark place, watering the bulbs lightly for several weeks as the long foliage sags and dies.

Leave the dying leaves on the plant until they turn greyish-brown and dry, then these can be cut off and discarded. Do save these large bulbs as they will bloom again next time, as Christmas 2017 approaches.

When your Christmas cactus finish blooming they too may be stored for blooms next Christmas. Keep them going for at least a month with small doses of lightly fertilizd water. Then they, too, may be allowed to almost completely dry out.

Amazingly they seem to be able to survive until summer, when I put mine outside in part shade for a month or more, bringing them inside before frost and storing them in a cool dark cupboard until October before watering them. And then you can start the whole business over again.

If you keep up this routine, after several years you’ll have a monster Christmas cactus that requires a strong person to move it. Make them be very careful when transporting it as the stems tend to be brittle.

If a piece breaks off, don’t shout at them, just pick up the piece and slide it under soil. Put a stone on top to hold it in place, water it a little at a time and almost certainly it will send out roots.

Your helper will think they are becoming a horticulturalist and change jobs. So don’t tell them, unless you want to be poor. The pay is small, unless they become famous — which, under the circumstances,  seems highly unlikely.

If you feel kindly you could tell them and let them dream sweet dreams of the marvelous plants they are responsible for. Why, they cure both cancer and heart disease — but only if you insist on dreaming. So, why not make it a big, worthwhile fantasy?

 

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

VIDEO: Saanich police tackle man who refused to move off Trans-Canada Highway

At this point, it is unclear why the man refused to move

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read