GARDENING: Sometimes things just work out

GARDENING: Sometimes things just work out

A hit and miss with a writer – and snow

Loretta Fritz | Contributed

About 60 people showed up at last month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club, many of them new members. All were eager to hear well-known horticulturist and educator Jeff de Jong’s presentation Here We Grow Again, focusing on new plant and seed introductions for 2019 and ideas gleaned from his travels that may be applicable to our own gardens.

Unfortunately, that presentation didn’t happen. de Jong thought the meeting was on Thursday, not Wednesday, so he was comfortably ensconced in his Victoria home while his audience waited in Sooke. Disappointment all around.

Serendipity to the rescue. Just a few days after the meeting, the speaker scheduled for this month notified the club that, regrettably, he would have to cancel. A call went out to de Jong, who jumped at the chance to “set things right.” Moreover, he promises a great evening of lively discussion.

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So, here’s how I choose to see the situation: Had Jeff given his presentation in January, he would, through sheer exuberance, have spread the dreaded gardening bug throughout the room. Those without immunity (i.e. those short on experience and/or self-control) would have rushed outside the very next day to get an early jump on planting. After all, signs of an early spring were everywhere – spring bulbs, shrubs and trees already in bloom, to say nothing of flowers still blooming from last year. Why not jump in with both feet?

The answer is hubris. February has reminded us that even southern Vancouver Island can still get a nasty smack upside the head from Old Man Winter. In hindsight it now seems fortuitous that the 2019 gardening bug, given its potential for an immediate and addictive reaction, wasn’t unleashed in Sooke in January. In short, sometimes things just work out.

February, however, is a great month to ease into gardening. Ideally, certain vegetables (e.g., leeks, onions) and herbs (e.g., lavender, mint, sage), and many flowers (both annuals and perennials) should be seeded indoors now for planting out when the weather warms. If your soil is workable (neither frozen nor waterlogged), you can go ahead and seed broad beans, peas and mustard directly into outdoor beds. Most poppy and wildflower seeds can also go into the ground now.

It doesn’t matter, of course, whether we start with seeds or purchased plants. What does matter is that we garden and that we enjoy our gardens, however large or small. If part of that enjoyment comes from succumbing to temptations presented by new plants/varieties and new ideas, then Jeff de Jong’s presentation is not to be missed.

Join us on Wednesday, (Feb. 27), 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. New members are always welcome.

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