Warm weather welcome

Helen Lang: time to start planning that summer garden now that the warmer weather is here

Home again after a longer holiday than I had planned. Three days was my desire. but it ended up being seven, after a lot of pleasant persuasion. My brother who lives in Cedar, just south of Nanaimo, is lonely, not well, and I’m weak-willed. Besides he has wonderful people working for him who do everything, and must be among the nicest human beings in existence, so, of course I stayed. It was lovely.

My youngest daughter was here, and had agreed to water all the plants, but she is not a gardener, so things were pretty dried out on my return. They have now been watered and tomorrow will be gently fertilized, patted a few times, turned to face another direction. And maybe, if it continues to be warm, put outside for the summer.

I’m “rushing the season” a bit and maybe will wait a while longer. However today I’m going to buy Romano pole beans, but will probably wait a few days before planting them as well.  Don S. and I used to have arguments about when it was time to plant corn. He always planted before I felt it was safe, and delighted in bringing me the first ripe ear from his garden while my corn was still too unripe to be eaten. Vegetable garderers can be quite competitive.

To my dismay my brother’s giant allium has not appeared this spring. It had been planted in a pot without a drainage hole in the bottom, and that pot was brimming with water when I saw it the other day. No wonder the allium didn’t appear. It had drowned. I offered him one of mine (four have appeared) but he (somewhat offended) refused. Probably thought I was showing off, when I was trying to be generous. Oh well, one can only try. My large pot is now full of big leaves, but no sign of any buds yet. I know I’m pushing things, but this is my first attempt at growing these handsome plants, and I can hardly wait for more action.

The large pot of tulips is now in full bloom, the stage where they no longer look like tulips, being so wide open they look like pretty saucers balanced on green sticks. I hate to see them go, but will move them into a shallower pot, keep them watered and fertilized, and keep them going until they have had a chance to fatten their bulbs for next spring’s blooms. I have plans for that big pot. Dark purple petunias for their marvelous perfume, white boccoca because it trails over the edge, and probably three pink petunias because they would be pretty with the dark blue. Fun to plan, isn’t it?

And the weather is considerably warmer, so we can plan in earnest, and prepare to buy bedding plants soon. Yippeee!

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


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