HELEN LANG: With roses, you can forgive the cloudy summer weather

Last week, I got a ride to a nursery and bought those dark purple petunias

Today is cloudy and gray and it is now summer. Come on! This is not the way it should be!

We want sunshine, and swimming-type heat, not too much, mind you, but more than this for sure. However, the roses are in bloom and you can forgive a lot of cloudy days when they flower. Right now there is a large, apricot-coloured, fragrant bloom in a vase on the dining room table, filched from a neighbouring garden where it was dangling over the fence. My visiting daughter picked it by chewing through the stem with her teeth. She is pretty sure no-one saw her, but if the doorbell rings we may be in trouble.

It is gorgeous and even if I am harbouring “stolen goods” it’s worth it. I suppose I could grow one rose on the balcony in a large pot, but it doesn’t seem quite fair to subject a lovely rose to such a life. Actually, my friends are very good to me. It’s a rare week when I don’t have something pretty to enjoy. Last week, Ingrid brought me a lovely bouquet of nasturtiums from her balcony, which reminds me the nasturtium seeds I hopefully planted some weeks ago have never germinated. I’ve kept them watered, they are in decent soil, in full sun, so what gives? I don’t think they are going to suddenly appear, either. Old seeds, probably. I have had them for a while.

Muriel brought me two beautiful yellow roses two weeks ago. Jean, earlier, brought yellow roses and Annie arrived with an armfull of flowers picked from Melissa Street. Each of my other friends brings me a thoughtful bouquet every so often, so I’m spoiled.

Last week, I got a ride to a nursery and bought those dark purple petunias, the white bocoppa and the single dark pink geranium that I propose to put in a large pot. It will be my sole pretty pot — the rest are busy growing vegetables. You gotta’ eat, y’ know!

I picked the first small, green pea-pod to present to my visiting Kamloops daughter, whom we knew as the queen of the garden peas. She was murder! Any time she disappeared for a couple of minutes I rushed out to see if she was in the pea patch and she usually was. We were lucky to get a single meal with such a pea-predator in the place! She is here visiting right now, but I’ve warned her that that one pea was all she was going to get. It was the only decent-sized one anyway — the rest are just past the blossom stage, not even ready for the hungriest of vegetable thieves (I hope).

For those of you new to growing roses , a couple hints may be in order.

When picking a bloom you should snip the stem off just above a five petalled leaf ( or leafed-leaf? What!? Er … what-cha-muh-call-it?). At this point a new stem should eventually appear, and maybe even another rose.

Before putting the rose in a vase, cut the stem back, just a bit, on a slant, under a running tap. This prevents an air bubble from remaining on the end of the stem which would prevent it from absorbing water. Roses are lovely, and may re-bloom in the fall, but enjoy them now, even in someone else’s garden!

 

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

 

 

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

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(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’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read