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HELEN LANG: Almost taste the green peas

I’m planting peas and spinach as soon as the last predicted frost — maybe even before.

The roofs are white with frost this morning, and even the pavement looks frozen, tire tracks showing up on the side street where cars have passed, so it is cold. Nothing like the terrible weather they are suffering through on the other side of the country, though.

Storms on top of bad weather. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? We are so fortunate to live here, where it must seem almost tropical to those poor souls ploughing through all that snow, and many of them without hydro power to make it even worse. I wonder about my cousin and his wife who moved to New Brunswick last year. Since they have no power it is useless to email them. I don’t even have their phone number or I’d call to see if they are O.K. I wouldn’t mention that it is positively balmy here. And to think they left Denman Island willingly. No point in making them jealous!

I have several large amaryllis bulbs sitting on a window sill, waiting for weather warm enough for them to go outside. One of them has a enormous leaf, three feet and two inches long. I hope this means it will produce flowers to match. I’ll enter it is a competition if it does.

Beside it are a couple of smallish cactus plants and a large hibiscus (not in bloom) which is getting on in years. It must be more than 15 years old and still doing very well, thank you.

I do love it and tend it with care. My dear, dead sister-in-law gave it to me at least 12 years ago when she visited from England. I suppose it is silly to be sentimental about plants but I can’t seem to help it. Two of my grand-children got together and gave me an absolutely enormous poinsettia for Christmas. There is hardly room for my daughter and myself in the same room with it. I’ll leave it to them in my will and let them sort out who gets it at Christmas time each year.

Remembering the poinsettia I tried valiantly to kill years ago they may have to argue for decades, over whose turn it is this year.

I remember seeing poinsettias blooming along the side of a road in Mexico and that seems possible as they require equal daylight and night time for their petals to change colour.

I am anxiously waiting for that first seed catalogue to arrive. Even though I only have pots to plant things in now, you just can’t teach a gardener to be patient. I’m planting peas and spinach as soon as the last predicted frost — maybe even before. The seeds won’t germinate for at least a week and I can almost taste those first green peas.

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