Starting bare root strawberries

This summer I received 2500 bare root strawberry starts. With that, one must ask themselves what to do with that amount of starts and how to approach what to do with them all. These starts in particular come from a commercial variety called ‘Tribute’. This variety is particularly desirable because of the large yields of sweet delicious berries and are hardy enough to survive cold wet winters.This hybrid strawberry was developed by the University of Maryland for large crops with good disease tolerance.   I began by pulling all the Read More …

Viburnum Edule, A “Berry” Nice Garden Shrub

Highbush Cranberries “Highbush Cranberries” is a publication from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service (CES), to which I have been referring on an annual basis for a couple of decades. The current version, revised in 2013, by Roxie Rodgers Dinstel (Extension Faculty) and Marci Johnson (Extension Program Assistant) is sitting in front of me as I blog. I have temporarily misplaced the berry-stained original that my mother handed down to me, but it will resurface, most likely stuck to another spot-on CES publication. The Stench Highbush cranberry is Read More …

Espalier – Living Sculptures

Introduction Espalier (pronounced “es-PAL-yer’ or “es-PAL-yay’) is a horticultural technique used to train plants to grow against a supportive structure such as a fence, trellis, or wall in order to create what some consider living art and sculptures. Many folks use this technique to save space as it ends up creating a two-dimensional plant through careful pruning and tying (with the help of something like soft string, strips of rags, rubber grafting bands) – my favorite example of saving space is in older times, espalier was sometimes used to grow Read More …

Winter Doesn’t Have to Mean Boring

One distinct challenge about living in Alaska is making the landscape appealing in the winter. Deciduous shrubs lose their leaves, there’s very little color, and everything is covered by a blanket of snow. Challenging, but by no means impossible. To create a vibrant and interesting winter landscape, consider the following: Color Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a deciduous holly which is decorated by bright red berries from summer through winter. For beautiful berries, Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus) is another great choice. A deciduous low hedge or groundcover formed by spreading branches. Read More …

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, Alaska – A gift for the senses

Pollinator on Primula

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum  in Juneau, Alaska A Gift For The Senses It is a gorgeous day in Southeast Alaska and I am heading to The Jensen-Olson Arboretum for some much needed “garden therapy.’   I drive on Glacier Highway past mile marker 23 and make a left onto the small parking lot, get out of the car, take a few steps and WHOA!– I am greeted by an explosion of fragrances, textures, flavors, and colors bursting out of 1.5 acres of carefully tended, pure waterfront magic.   I stop, breathe Read More …

Weeds can be Wonderful

Introduction: For this post, I wanted to give a different perspective on weeds compared to most other gardeners I hear from.   Many of the classic ‘weeds’   that are dubbed lawn and garden pests such as dandelions, clover, and yarrow might not be as bad as some people think, though this is subject to what you are trying to do with your land.   We actually let these run rampant in our yard (which I suppose we are lucky to have extra space that we are trying to make Read More …

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 …