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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read