It is another amazingly lovely day today and the middle one of my three daughters is visiting all the way from Fort St. John in northern B.C.
It seems such a long way away but she points out that, with air travel, we are only a few hours apart.
That may well be true, but from my point of view, it is still a long way, so it is especially nice to have her here. She has rented a car so we have been getting out a bit, which is especially nice for me, since I no longer have a car.
The sky is clear, the air is warm and the sun is out. What more can a gardener wish for?
Actually I can think of several things.
How about someone to help with the watering? Someone to weed the flower beds? Someone to bring us a cup of tea as we lounge in a deck chair, enjoying a good book?
Ho, ho! Forget it! Get up and get a move on!
“What do you think this is, your birthday?” my Dad used to say this to us, his children, when we made some outrageous request.
You do have an excuse today — it is much too hot for gardening. Leave it for tomorrow,early in the morning when it is cool, the birds are singing and the morning air is full of the delightful smell of petunias and Spanish broom.
Today being so hot, what can we do to make it special?
How about a picnic instead of another hot meal served by a wilting cook to a ravenous family?
Put the ice trays in the freezing section of the fridge for the lemonade (send the whining kids to the store to buy the lemons and get them out of your hair for a few minutes.) Find the bathing suits and the sun-burn lotion and several towels (the oldest ones — you are bound to come home minus at least one). Tuck in a few bandages and several headache pills for the headache you can already feel coming on and, oh yes, the beach umbrella (if you can remember where you put it last fall).
A thermos of cold water, fortified with ice cubes and an old medicine bottle full of gin, for the emergency revival of a fainting fit by either yourself or another exhausted adult might be the finishing touches to such a glorious prosect.
A day at the beach!
• • • •
This is obviously lily season.
The balcony is lovely with a pair of big, tall lilies, one a golden yellow and the other a pale orange. Neither of them perfumed unfortunately.
But the petunias below them smell wonderful.
It is so hot out there I’m afraid the blooms won’t last very long but they are lovely right now and one must learn not to be greedy.
After all, the nasturtiums planted a while ago will bloom soon, so the balcony will once again be a cheerful place — but only possible to visit in the evening when the sun has gone down and the western sky is full of slowly dying vivid colours and the evening air is finally cooling down.
Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.