National Wildlife Federation’s ® Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife  by  David Mizejewski  

This beautifully illustrated book provides an introductory overview on how to design a garden that is good for people, animals, plants, and the Earth. Chock-full of useful information, it helps gardeners understand the value of native plants over invasive exotics, the importance of achieving an ecological balance in your garden or backyard, and how providing for wildlife’s basic needs (food, water, cover, and places to raise young) can be an extremely rewarding experience for the gardener turned backyard naturalist. Mizejewski’s holistic approach includes educational, fun, and easy steps to make Read More …

A Gardener Wears Many Hats: Entomology In The Garden

A Good Defense Someone recently said to me, “A gardener wears many hats.”   I thought of this when I was doing some reading for a quiz for the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course.   A good defense against pests is to learn as much as you can about all insects, harmful and beneficial alike.   This calls for our entomology hats! Getting to Know Bugs Did you know female aphids give live birth to pregnant females?   This is how you can end up with a real problem before Read More …

Making a Bee Friendly Garden in Alaska

Insects are nature’s pollinators. As a gardener there are things we can do to encourage bee populations and visitation. There’s no reason not to encourage bees to visit your garden. Not only do they improve the health and productivity of your plants and vegetables, they are fascinating to watch, fun to look at, and a part of nature. You can encourage bees to visit your garden in a variety of ways–planting bee friendly plants, using bee friendly insect control, and even providing water and a resting area for weary workers! Read More …

Bees are cool…but in my garden?

I was not ready for a garden this season. My life is in a state of transition and I am without gardening space of my own. In spite of that, when some generous friends offered up the use of a lovely, but long neglected, overgrown raised bed near where I live, the longing to work the soil and grow things to feed my small family overrode my uncertainty. In early June–late to start weeding and prepping garden space even by Alaska standards–I began. After a busy weekend of pulling weeds Read More …

Destroyers of the Garden Universe: Aphids

Creepy, crawly, and sometimes slimy, insects can destroy a garden. While some gardeners have great luck and have not had to fight pests extensively, others have not been so fortunate. I was among the previous group until this summer. Although I did not have to engage in all out battle with the pests. While deadheading my Nicotiana  sanderae plants, I noticed fuzzy white patches on the leaves and a lot of white spots on the petals. I quickly swished all the white fuzzy bugs on the leaves. I was not Read More …