HELEN LANG: By thunder, readers come up with plenty of answers

I whine about some garden problem and a clever reader calls with the answer! My grateful thanks to all of you

This morning, for the first time in over a month, it looks as though it might rain.

The sky is overcast, the distant hills are sort of blurry and there is a certain coolness that hints of a change in the weather.

We do need rain: unwatered lawns are brown, hanging baskets drooping, and tree leaf-tips limp, dusty and parched. The world needs a bath and I hope those clouds mean business.

Actually I’d like to see and hear a thunder storm but today has not been hot enough to expect one. We haven’t had a thunder storm all summer.

I remember years ago when we lived in Zeballos on the west coast of Vancouver Island, seeing monstrous thunder storms. I’d sit in a window with the two small children, holding them close, as we watched the dazzling light show and heard the tremendous claps of thunder.

I wanted them not to be afraid of natural events, to enjoy nature’s beauty and power and I hope they, as adults, still do. I must ask them.

The last of the lilies are showing definite signs of wear — petals curling up in a disheartened way — so I guess they are through for this year. A good feeding before they die is in order, just to encourage the bulbs to swell enough to produce next year’s lovely flowers.

Regarding lily pollen and the difficulty of removing it from clothing, I had a wonderful phone call from Pam C. to suggest a remedy.

Take a piece of sticky tape (Scotch tape) and just barely touch the pollen, gently lifting the top layer off the clothing.

With a fresh bit of tape, do it a second time, still gently, and as many more times as necessary to get rid of it entirely.

Thanks, Pam. It is wonderful how often this has happened … I whine about some garden problem and a clever reader calls with the answer! My grateful thanks to all of you.

You know I have a five gallon pot planted with potatoes. Yesterday I decided to find out if there were actually potatoes under the soil.

I carefully slid a hand under the surface and felt a small spud. Satisfied, I didn’t go any further. Now I know there is actually something hiding there, I’ll continue hauling water to encourage further growth. If they are all this small size there won’t be enough potatoes for more than one scanty meal, but I had to try.

Annie from Melissa Street has promised me some crabapples from what used to be our tree. She says the apples are red and beginning to drop, which is a sure sign of ripeness.

They make the nicest jelly, being both sweet and tart at once … marvelous with roast pork or spread on the morning’s toast.

I thought my jelly making days were over, but I’m happy to see they may not be.

 

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

 

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