HELEN LANG: Tulips are still waiting for the warmer weather

I’m putting half my seed in a bowl of water to soak overnight, to get them off to an early start.

Today is the most beautiful day so far this year — not a cloud in a heavenly blue sky and it is almost warm enough to open all the windows and let spring come inside.

There is more life on the balcony: there is a hyacinth flowering, a pot of giant anemonies making energetic growth, a pot of crocus bursting into bloom, daffodils in bud and tulips still waiting for warmer weather.

Not a sign of life in the clematis, though, but it wasn’t cold enough this past winter for it to have perished. It’s just biding its time, I suppose.

I told you I had bought two packages of Little Marvel shelling peas, one to ship to Anthony, the man who gardens for my brother in Cedar. At the same time, I’ll gently remind him that he should cut off last year’s flower heads on the hydrangeas just above the first sign of  new leaf growth.

When I bought my package of Little Marvel green pea seed, I also bought one for Anthony. I’ll need to buy a padded envelope to ship them by mail. There would be no point in having them arrive as a paste instead of nice round seeds.

I’m putting half my seed in a bowl of water to soak overnight, to get them off to an early start.

I’ll plant them the day after tomorrow in one of my big pots. I have only a couple of big pots, so they may have to share the room with some bulbs that have already finished flowering (crocus). I’m reasonably sure they won’t mind — they’ll be so happy to get into some soil, instead of sitting, dry and neglected, on a shelf in a dark room.

As I lay in bed last night, I’m pretty sure I heard them discussing their next move. And it sounded urgent, so tomorrow is the day!

The other half of the seed I’ll keep for probably three weeks before planting them, to get a longer season of fresh green peas, of which I’m very fond.

March is fast approaching so a visit to a seed supplier is probably in order, or if you order your seed by mail, to sit down with a seed catalogue and write down your needs and get your order away before the rush begins.

I know I mention this every year, but a repeat may be a good idea.

Please don’t panic about timing. A man who grew a fantastic garden every year, never planted anything before the 24th of May.

I’ve never been able to wait that long … I get too anxious to get my hands into the soil and to see those first green shoots appear.

This man I knew lived just north of Qualicum Beach, which must be close to a hundred miles further north than the Saanich Peninsula. Its season starts a couple of weeks later  than here in Greater Victoria. But we are a cautious bunch down here, and our “motto” is “better late than never.”

 

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

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