HELEN LANG: Dreaming about the spring

February is almost over and then its just one more month and it will be spring.

Oh wow! February is almost over and then its just one more month and it will be spring. A few gray skies, probably, and likely a few showers but then we can count the days until the weather gets warmer, the trees begin to leaf out and flowers start to bloom.

Winter is almost over! Actually, there wasn’t really a winter was there? More like a long, dampish fall. I haven’t had the heart to tell my cousins who moved from Denman Island, in the Strait of Georgia, to Nova Scotia last year. They have had about the worst winter on record back there. I bet they’re wishing they had never moved.

She is a big gardener, too, so she will be eyeing the snow- covered soil with loathing, recalling her early plantings of peas, spinach and chard on Denman. She took her two horses with her and the five dogs. Maybe they are enjoying the snow!

Jim and I had a Boxer dog and he loved the snow. He was positively delirious with delight as he ran, suddenly put on the brakes, and deliberately slid across the deck.

I’ve been dreaming about this spring’s garden. I know it has to be in big pots here on a balcony but it’s amazing what you can do with a minimum of soil, if you get sunshine, and provide fertilizer and water. So, you poor folks with little space, do not dispair. We’ll show ‘em.

It’s raining today and I don’t want to get my hair wet and ruin a perfectly splendid hair-do, so I will wait until tomorrow to go out and buy seeds. I plan to use an upside-down tomato cage to hold the peas upright until they are tall enough to reach the trellis I used last year to support those failed runner beans. (No bees and no humming birds, remember?) I hope to get Little Marvel green peas (you get two pods on each narrow stalk and I’m greedy when it comes to fresh green peas).

In the second pot I’m going to plant tomato seedlings (not until late April or early May, please). Maybe I’ll try some spinach in the meanwhile if the seed isn’t too expensive. I’d hate to have it to go to waste.

I should also finish with the bit about bulbs.

My Jim was not a gardener but he loved the produce and flowers the garden produced. His delight was his one dinner plate-sized white dahlia which grew against the green-house wall. He spoke of it as “My dahlia” when casually introducing it into the conversation. I never mentioned that I watered it, fertilized it, staked it when it grew tall, dead-headed it when the first blooms were over, dried and stored the tubers for the winter.

Why spoil his fun? I was the gardener, after all, and he loved the results and I loved him, so there was no problem that I could see, either then or now.

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



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