GREEN THUMB LANGLEY: Desperation to play in the garden pays off

Thankfully, the flame thrower can be put away

by Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media

It is amazing what extremes we will all go to in order to satisfy our urge to grow things.

This winter has proven to be quite unusual for us Lower Mainland gardeners, as we are used to almost being able to work the ground right through our normally-fair winters.

What a difference this year.

It is now early March, and recently I was asked to speak at a garden club on the Sunshine Coast.

They also requested I bring plants along – bit of a challenge in mid-February.

I pride myself on knowing where every one of our 3,500 varieties of daylilies and hostas are in the garden – but I definitely tested myself when I had to find specific pots to take with me – and they were buried in the snow.

But, even though I walk into the kitchen and can’t remember why I went there, I was able to know exactly where those pots were, dig holes in the snow, and retrieve the desired varieties.

Have to say, I felt quite elated to know that this old brain is still working.

A lot of gardeners know that February is a good month to start seeds indoors and some seeds can be sown outside in March – when things are ‘usually’ a bit warmer. (Okay, this was obviously scribed before our colder weather was replaced with record-breaking warmth).

Again – this is not your typical year.

I recently visited a friend whose kitchen (with its lovely south facing windows) had been transformed into a mini greenhouse with Mylar foil reflecting blankets.

Such dedication!

One weekend, while the sun was out, the air was still cool enough to keep the frozen, shady areas still firmly entrenched in ice. I said jokingly to my husband “What I need is a flamethrower!”

Lo and behold, half an hour later, my hero appeared with a torch and started gently melting some of the solid patches so that I didn’t slip.

Never, in all my years, have we had to deal with this before – and I certainly hope this is not to be the norm.

On the other hand, there was hope. Our nephew, who lives on Pender Island, was basking in the glow of having planted out all his peas and has been working the ground for the last little while.

Now we just need that warmth to transcend to Langley so that we can all satisfy our urges to get out and garden. [And so it has].

Never fear, it IS on the horizon – and we have so much to look forward to!

So start those seeds, start browsing your local nurseries, make decisions on what to plant this year, check for local garden club plant sales – and before you know it, you will be cursing because the weeds are growing too fast.


– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club.

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