HELEN LANG: Toughen up those lilies

LIlies! Lilies! How I love them! And I’m certainly not the only one. Even in the Bible there is mention of them... “lilies of the field.”

LIlies! Lilies! How I love them! And I’m certainly not the only one. Even in the Bible there is mention of them… “lilies of the field.”

I used to have 10 of them on the deck when we lived on Melissa Street but now I have three, one that has finished flowering and two still magnificent with huge creamy blooms — fragrant, too!

They aren’t too thrilled with all the wind we’ve been experiencing and fearing they might get blown over, I’ve moved them back against the inside wall, hoping they won’t get their heads banged against the stucco.

You all will have seen Easter lilies in pots for sale in the spring but these are just a hint of the varieties and colours available during the year.

Ages ago I tried to transplant (into the garden) a lovely potted white one I had been given for Easter, but it hated the location, the drafty outdoors, the rain and the sunshine, so it up and died. I suppose it had been raised in a comfortable greenhouse, with controlled heat and light and the outdoors were too much for it. I was horrified that I’d caused its untimely death and have never since tried to change a delicate indoor lily into a sturdy outdoor one.

Having moved from Prince George where gardening is a brief and chance-y thing at the best of times, to Sidney where everything grows (well, maybe not Palm trees) presents a completely different point of view. I never did get a ripe tomato from the Prince George garden although I tried every year, whereas here, you may still be picking ripe ones in mid-October.

I have a fine big tomato plant on the balcony bearing half a dozen nice big, fat, green tomatoes (I helped pollination with my trusty make-up brush) which almost certainly will ripen in August.

Silly, I suppose, when they can be had from road-side stands without all this trotting back and forth with pitchers of water and fertilizer, moving plants around to access more sunshine, fussing, fussing every day, when I could be relaxing with a good book. But you can take the woman out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the woman, so I am stuck with this burning desire to plant, nurture, harvest and eat things produced at home.

It’s hopeless to expect a change at this stage, so it’s “Carry on Canada” for me as long as I can move.

It is completely overcast this morning, although so far no rain.

We certainly could use some, everything looks so dry and it would lay the dust, as well as refresh the earth, the trees, shrubs and flowers and give us the pleasant smell of wet asphalt.

It has been a while since we had rain.

I notice unwatered lawns are turning brown but almost certainly they will green-up again in fall. Grass is fortunately hard to kill.

And just think, when grass isn’t watered it doesn’t grow, so you don’t have to mow!




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