HELEN LANG: Not time for the balcony garden to have a rest

The balcony is looking pretty sad, it seems to feel that its done its bit but I have plans for it that don’t include a rest

This week, I’ll be lucky to make the Peninsula News Review’s deadline.

There have been so many distractions: visitors, telephone calls, meals to make, shopping … a lot of things that got in the way.

The balcony is looking pretty sad now. It seems to feel that its done its bit for this season and it’s time to have a rest.

I have plans for it that don’t include a rest. I intend to plant bulbs in early September. Some are sitting in a basket in the utility room ever since being up-rooted after their foliage died down in early summer. I’ll have to buy more, of course.

Buying bulbs gives me a lot of pleasure. It reminds me of years ago when I sold bulbs out of our garage on Melissa Street. I’m also reminded of choosing varieties of bulbs from a grower in Richmond. Those were wonderful days for me.

“Himself” wasn’t that impressed when I talked of the attributes of fritillaria imperialis as compared to frittilaria melagris. He used to say, “Who did you say had what disease?”

He knew a lot about flying aircraft, but next to nothing about growing plants, which was just as well … no arguments that way.

This reminds me of another bulb (actually a rizome) called schizo- styllis coccinea (crimson flag) which flowers in the fall when other flowers are dying, or already dead. These flowers look somewhat like dwarf gladiola. The foliage is similar but they considerbly shorter and come only in pink, rose and scarlet.

I used to see clumps of them in a bed outside the entrance to the Jubilee cancer clinic, where my darling husband “himself” used to go for treatment. It is so nice to see new blooms when everything else is looking tired.

The balcony is fading fast, although the geraniums continue to put on a show and the purple petunias are still trying their best, but there comes a time to make a change and I’m afraid that time has come.

I think I’ll seed some spinach — it’s pretty hardy — and maybe some lettuce. I hate it when the choices get limited but everything changes, even the weather.

We could do with some rain, but not too much, please.

I’ve asked Steve, our esteemed editor, if I might ask a friend, a knowledgeable gardener if she could write some garden articles in my stead and he agreed, so Annie Zarath is going to be a guest columnist every so often. I don’t want to quit, but I’m getting older and only have a balcony, which does limit what gardeners who have a proper gar- den might enjoy and find helpful. Oh, darn, I’m crying, and don’t even have a kleenex.

I’m not gone yet, and certainly am not in a rush, but you deserve a change, just not immediately. This is just a hint that things are a-changin’. After all, it’s been more than 30 years and I’ve loved every minute of those years of columns. I’ve made so many friends, it has been wonderful.


Just Posted

Single dad reaches out to Greater Victoria community to help kids celebrate Christmas

A young family was overwhelmed with the warm response from strangers

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Thief targets staff rooms at Victoria businesses

Surveillance shows man entering staff room where several items were reported stolen

Workers at auto dealerships in Nanaimo and Victoria set up picket lines

Sixty GAIN Group detailers, technicians, service advisors went on strike Friday

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

UPDATED: Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Prime Minister sets 2025 timeline for plan to remove fish farms from B.C. waters

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Federal justice minister looks to larger reforms on doctor-assisted death

The Quebec Superior Court gave Ottawa just six months — until March 2020 — to amend the law

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read