HELEN LANG: The Peninsula and its bounty in the summer

This is a wonderful part of the world, so beautiful, so peaceful when you get off the highway and onto the rural byways

Here we go talking about lilies again. I can’t really help it as that is what is most interesting on the balcony.

There is one large white bloom measuring nine and a half inches across, from the tip of one petal directly across to the one opposite. Mind you, as it is the only flower on the plant and there are no buds still to come — all the bulb’s energy has gone into producing this one monsterous flower, but it is so lovely I can’t very well complain.

There are so many types of lilies that it is a bit staggering, but this one is an Oriental lily and it is a beauty. There is another pot with six stems of a peach-coloured lily about four feet tall, these are, I believe, Nankeen lilies.

Lily bulbs may be planted in the fall (August, September) or in the spring. They are very hardy, so frost is no problem. My former neighbour used to grow wonderful lilies here in Sidney, but grew beautiful ones in Saskatchewan where she had lived earlier.

One thing I should warn you about is that lily pollen is murder if you get it on your clothes and don’t get too close if you are going to smell them. It isn’t easy to get it off your nose either.

•   •   •   •

Yesterday my eldest daughter came over from Pender Island and we drove around part of the Peninsula. It is wonderful, especially at this time of the year when the fields are full of luscious produce. Some of it is already for sale and I’m talking corn here. We stopped and bought some, enough for two ears each. It’s best to buy just what you are going to eat that day. It is never the same if you’ve stored it for a day or more.

For those of you new to Peninsula corn, let me offer a word of advice. Shuck it while the big pot of water comes to a boil. Add a scant quarter cup of sugar (not salt) to the water and add the ears of corn. Cook for about four minutes, rush it to the table, spread each ear generously with butter (margarine if you don’t have butter), put on a bib, sprinkle corn with salt and enjoy! It is simply delicious! (No, I don’t get paid for advertizing.)

While we were on Island View Road, we stopped and bought other vegetables, fresh vegetables: Swiss chard, new potatoes, new carrots and baby beets and even some raspberries and a big bag of ripe cherries. What a haul!

This is a wonderful part of the world, so beautiful, so peaceful when you get off the highway and onto the rural byways.There is so much to see: cows and horses grazing, rows and rows of vegetables in big fields, fruit trees heavy with ripening fruit, raspberries and  logans ready to be picked, wild flowers on the edges of country roads. It is a different world and I’m so grateful to live out here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and all its noises. Out here you can actually hear the birds. Well, not so much at this time of year, its mostly gulls and crows, but they are fun to see as they drift along. Mind you, the crows have to work at it, the gulls not so much.

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



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