HELEN LANG: Curse the predatory butterfly

Last fall’s predatory white butterfly laid eggs on leaves that produced hungry green caterpillars

August already! How can it be? It was July a couple of minutes ago! But this morning there was fog in the hills, mist on my open window and a definite chill in the air.

As I walked to an appointment, I passed a woman wearing what had to be a winter jacket. I had a hard time not crying.

To make matters worse there are five family birthdays in August and I don’t own an oil-well pumping out money. Do you think I could get away with just sending a card. No? I was afraid you were going to say that.

Yesterday two of my daughters helped me reserve a Hawthorn tree to be picked up in late fall and planted in North Saanich in my son’s garden. It has to satisfy both his and my daughter-in-law’s August birthday as a gift, as it was rather expensive. Paul (my son) wanted a Hawthorn especially as he remembers the beauty we had on Melissa Street.

That tree is now 40 years old and a handsome specimen, with limbs flung wide over the deck. It also produces trusses of orange berries, much loved by birds.

My daughter, who lives in Vancouver, and I visited a couple of garden centres and she bought Brussels sprouts plants to go in her garden. I resisted the temptation to buy some myself, remembering last fall’s predatory white butterfly whose eggs on the leaves produced those hungry green caterpillars who ate the leaves down to a thin lace until both the plants and I gave up.

I wished that butterfly nothing but stomach cramps and a fate worse than death.

I’m taking no chances this year and resisting the urge to purchase broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, in favour of empty pots which require no watering, no weeding and no anxious monitoring.

It doesn’t seem natural though,  does it, not for a gardener, anyway, to give room to empty pots.

I really am getting spoiled … my eldest daughter has given me a bouquet of large crimson gladiola that bring amazing loveliness to an otherwise drab living room.

It seems early for gladiola, but of course its not.

I’ve just lost track of time, living in a condominium where one day is much like the one before and almost certainly like the one coming tomorrow.

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