Gardening in Alaska just got cooler with “Cool Plants for Cold Climates” by Brenda C. Adams

Are you new to gardening in Alaska? Are you often overwhelmed by all of the possibilities when trying to select annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs? Do you enjoy spending winter evenings flipping through glossy garden photos for inspiration? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will enjoy Cool Plants for Cold Climates, the latest book by award-winning Alaskan garden designer Brenda C. Adams. Cool Plants for Cold Climates aims to provide you with the tools necessary to create beautiful flower gardens in Alaska. Organized into five concise, Read More …

Peony Pride in High Country Southcentral Alaska: One Gardener’s Trials, Tribulations, and Eventual Success

By:   Troy Weiss,             Student at Alaska Master Gardening Class UAF On-Line, Fall 2017 Description When I was planning my garden a few years ago, a more experienced gardening friend suggested I start growing peonies because they are hardy perennials that require little maintenance once established.   I went online to research them, and instantly fell in love. I admired the amazing colors and sizes, and their ability to last as cut flowers.   Peony plants can live for 75 to 100 years.   Read More …

Even shaded area can be colorful

Even shaded areas can be colorful If you are looking to incorporate color, beauty and low maintenance into areas of your yard that may be shaded, I hope you consider Astilbe, a perennial from the Saxifragaceae family that flourishes in shady areas and/or containers. Typically described as “a beautiful, showy flower atop glossy, fern-like foliage,” they can add color and texture to places where full-sun flowers fail to thrive. Astilbes are native to mountain ravines and woodlands, blooming mid-spring to late summer in zones 4-8.  (For zoning questions Jeff Lowenfels Read More …

Sometimes we just need a little inspiration…

Years ago, I was a late comer to a marvelous children’s book called The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote A Little Princess, which was made into a movie in the 30’s starring Shirley Temple. Unfortunately, most film adaptations of The Secret Garden are nowhere near as magical as the book. The book starts out in late winter with the arrival of the young Mary Lennox to a relative’s (an uncle) manor on the English moors. Her entire family has just died while in India. However, Mary Read More …

See Weeds? Try Seaweed!

THE COMPLETE PACKAGE My neighbor has been saying for years that we should try seaweed in our garden.  I brushed it off until a recent beach walk had me looking at the shoreside debris in a different light.  The sea grass snaked along the coastline in rows that reminded me of hay drying in the fields right before the baler came to scoop it up.  I did a little online research first and then just felt silly for living and gardening here for years and never using it!    It’s Read More …

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em

Our house was built in 1991. A cute little cottage on five beautifully wooded acres in the foothills of Lazy Mt. According to our neighbors, the original owners had landscaped the yard beautifully. I could see some of the remnants of flowers and berries mixed in with 10+ years of neglect. I have been battling weeds and tree shoots since we moved in! While doing research on how to naturally eradicate these weeds, I kept running across articles suggesting there are many of these weeds that can be used for Read More …

Yarrow, more than your common weed!

Stop and enjoy the roadside weeds! Not only did  we name our daughter after this elegant wildflower but have learned that it is quite the miracle worker when used as a healing herb. It’s Latin name is achillea millefollium. Myth has it that Achillea carried this plant with him into battle as a wound healing agent. Yarrow can stop bleeding, relieve pain and act as a anti-microbial which makes it a must for your medicine cabinet. Yarrow can also be used as an effective insect repellent when rubbed on the Read More …

Hunting the Hawk(weed)

Upon purchasing our land, our terra-knowledgeable neighbor informed us that he has Hieracium aurantiacum, aka Orange Hawkweed, growing on his property so it’s likely we do as well.   Not knowing what Hieracium aurantiacum was, I wasn’t sure if I should be excited, relieved, or worried.   I promptly went home, searched the internet, and found a deep orange flower that I thought would add color to our landscape.   I opted for excited. After further reading, I learned that Orange Hawkweed has secured a spot on Alaska’s Invasive Species Read More …

Radical Rhubarb: Why is all of my rhubarb going to seed?!

I have grown up in a family of rhubarb fanatics! The sweet taste in pies, jams, and cakes is just the way to wake your body up after a long, dark winter. Recently, the rhubarb that I have growing has been flowering very frequently. I can go out a pull seed heads off of nearly every plant and it has always puzzled me (as well as frustrated me to no end). I have also had many friends post pictures on social media of their rhubarb going to seed asking “What Read More …