HELEN LANG: Thrilled by this vast land

What a wonderful country we are lucky enough to live in

What a wonderful country we are lucky enough to live in. Canada Day is rightly a day for parades, music,and celebration of our amazing good fortune.

Some years ago my eldest daughter and I travelled by train right across Canada. She, by travelling as my care-giver, got a reduced fare. To me it was the trip of a lifetime. It is such an amazing country: oceans, mountains, grasslands, lakes, forests, cities. Whatta country!

I had the lower berth, so had the window at the foot of the bed. I reversed my position and had my head by the window and, by raising the blind, I could watch the passing scenery all night long. My daughter wasn’t too thrilled and suggested I close it, which I did (mostly). I left it open about an inch and a half and spent hours being thrilled by the enormity of this vast land.

The sidings in many cases contained freight cars pulled off the main line. These cars were loaded with grain, lumber, produce, farm machinery, cars — an abundance of everything. My silly heart swelled with pride in my country and its riches. No thanks to me, of course. I’m just glad to be a part of such a splendid land.

Now, back down to earth (the right spot for a garden column).

We are now approaching the heart of summer and already the temperatures soar, so it’s water, water, water! Never mind the lawn. It will doubtless go brown but grass is hard to kill and when the fall rains start, it will all be green again.

If you feel you have to water it, I’d do it in the evening so the grass has all night to recover and starts off the next day refreshed.

I know we are warned that we should always water in the morning, that leaving it wet all night promotes the formation of mildew, but I have never seen a mildewed lawn, have you?

I wouldn’t water either the vegetables or the flower beds in the evening though, just to be on the safe side. Twice a week should be enough for lawns, if you water thoroughly and deeply.

My beloved husband, Jim, who wasn’t “into gardening” would attempt to water if I were away (after much urging on my part). His idea of watering was “If the soil turns black, its enough.” It isn’t! The vegetables would benefit from watering at least every second day, and hanging baskets possibly twice a day.

If you are going to be away for two or more days I’d move baskets and pots into the shade. Smaller pots could be set into a plastic tub with a small amount of water in it and maybe, if you have a friendly neighbour, he or she would do some watering for you — especially if you were to offer to do the same for him or her (plus, maybe … a small gift).

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


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