HELEN LANG: Lovely to be spoiled with flowers

Last week was a lovely one for me, lots of flowers, a few in my balcony garden, but lots more as gifts.

Last week was a lovely one for me … lots of flowers, a few in my balcony garden, but lots more as gifts … white ‘mums mixed with baby’s breath in one bouquet, winter jasmine and several stems of a pink and blue flower whose name completely escapes me in another.

From a grandson an elegant small basket full of spring flowers: pale pink polyanthus, purple crocus, red tulips, small daffodils, with one pink hyacinth in the centre. Also in it there is a miniature birdhouse on a stick and a couple of sprigs of pussy willow to complete the garden scene.

I am spoiled. But it’s lovely to be spoiled with spring flowers.

At this time of year even dandelions are a pleasure to see. Years ago my darling husband decided, because we had a major showing of dandelions, to make dandelion wine.

What a performance! The kitchen was a mess with things being washed, sterilized, chopped up, sugar spilled on the floor, steam clouding the room. In self defence I took off for parts unknown, leaving “himself” in charge. He had a lovely time.

The wine never did mature, but he had fun trying (and it only took me a week to get everything in the kitchen straightened out).

As a mature couple, only recently married, we had a lot of fun, playing house.

•   •   •   •

That stately begonia in my bedroom is doing something strange. The leaves are large and perfectly shaped, but there is a branch at the top bearing an odd flower, sort of a salmon colour. It is a male bloom (single petals) but it is alone, which I find very sad. Where flowers are concerned I favour polygamy.

Out on the balcony, there are pots of miniature daffodils, some narcissus, tulips which are tall and being blown over by the wind (sob), a number of potted polyanthus, and several pots of chickweed, which I must clear before it sets seed and then there is that big pot of carrots which seem destined to remain small, but none the less tasty.

This spring I’ll uproot the remainder of  those carrots and plant something pretty and perfumed and maybe later plant overwintering Kale or something equally hardy.

But recalling my experience with that white moth and my happily devoured Brussels sprouts, maybe it would be safer to plant a few onions. Walla-walla for example, which, planted in the fall, mature just in time to garnish barbecued hamburgers.

I’m pretty sure moths don’t like onions.

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



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