Talk Dirt To Me

Gardening in Alaska presents big challenges, whether it's the extra effort in finding plants tough enough to survive our Zone 2-4 climate, communicating with like-minded Alaska gardeners, or keeping up with the latest trends, issues and solutions. We'll try to help with that. We'll also tour gardens from Homer to Anchorage to Wasilla to Willow whenever we get the chance, and post the best garden photos around. Presenting a forum about cold-weather gardening and for cold-weather gardeners is what we are all about. We hope you'll join us on the Talk Dirt garden blog.

Photographer and gardener Fran Durner (fdurner@adn.com) writes the blog.

February Garden Calendar - 1/29/2010 9:28 am

UA Anchorage recognized as a Tree Campus USA - 1/27/2010 10:36 am

Stone walls provide beauty and exercise - 1/26/2010 8:43 am

USDA program for high tunnels offered - 1/25/2010 8:08 pm

Worms could eat your garbage too - 1/24/2010 8:01 pm

Wildflower Garden Club offers annual scholarship - 1/21/2010 1:08 pm

Where did you find inspiration last year? - 1/19/2010 3:57 pm

Zaumseils say farewell for now - 1/18/2010 3:57 pm

October Garden Calendar

View Garden Gallery
Submit Your Garden Photos!

Fall colors are reflected in the water of Westchester Lagoon as a mallard duck feeds along the shoreline. Erik Hill/ADNFall colors are reflected in the water of Westchester Lagoon as a mallard duck feeds along the shoreline. Erik Hill/ADNOctober 1, Thursday, 7pm. The ins & outs of Flower Arranging presented by Camille Williams. The Anchorage Garden Club monthly meeting at the Pioneer School House basement, corner of Third Avenue and Eagle Street. Call the AGC hotline for program information, 566-0539.

October 2-4, Friday - noon to 8pm, Saturday - 10am to 7pm, Sunday, - 11am to 6pm. Make It Alaskan Festival at the Sullivan Arena. $6. A kick-off to pre-season holiday shopping featuring unique Alaska made products, music and food

October 2-8, Friday - Thursday. The first Alaska Local Food Film Festival. The Alaska debut of Food Inc, as well as the films The Garden, Eating Alaska, FRESH and The End of the Line. Ellen Frankenstein, filmmaker and feature of Eating Alaska, will be in town to answer questions after screening her film. The Beartooth Grill will be preparing specials made with local ingredients brought in by AK Root Sellers from the Valley. Discuss the films, as well as learn more about how you can get involved with the Alaska local food movement. Bioneers Alaska will host a dessert, coffee, and Q&A opportunity on the last night of the Film Fest. At the Beartooth Theatrepub in Anchorage.

October 3, Saturday, 9am-2pm. Last scheduled day of the South Anchorage Farmer's Market at Old Seward and O'Malley. The season may be extended, check with farmers for more info.

October 4, Sunday, 2pm. Insect Gall Ecology with naturalist Dominique Collet, author of Insects of Southcentral Alaska. A program on the fascinating relationship between willows, gall insects and their parasites. At the Eagle River Nature Center. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

October 6, Tuesday, 10:30 am. Valley Garden Club monthly meeting. Linda Lockhart will show pictures of Wasilla gardener Kathy Widmer's garden. Following the meeting there will be door prize drawing and a potluck. At the Old Catholic Church on Bogard Rd. in Wasilla. Contact Fran at 745-7676 for more info.

October 6, Tuesday, 6:30 pm. North Root Big Lake Garden Club monthly meeting at the Big Lake Library. Growing the Widmer Garden presentation by Linda Lockhart. Call Linda Lockhart for more info, 892-8119.

October 6, Tuesday, 7pm. Central Peninsula Garden Club monthly meeting. Alternative Energy for Home and Greenhouses by Gary Dawkins. Take a look at some solar panels and learn the pros and cons of each. Hear about the big and smaller windmills Gary’s installed on the Peninsula. At the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Bldg., on K-Beach Rd. Open to the public. Refreshments, sometime door prizes. Contact Marion Nelson at mmkn@ptialaska.net for more info.

October 7, Wednesday, 9am-4pm. Last day of the Northway Mall Farmer's Market. The market may continue depending on weather, check with the farmers at the market.

October 8, Thursday, 10am–Noon. Wildflower Garden Club meeting The Wonders of Rhubarb presented by Julie Riley of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service. At Central Lutheran Church, 1420 Cordova St., Anchorage. For information call 786-6300.

The Turnagain trail in fall color. Marc Lester/ADNThe Turnagain trail in fall color. Marc Lester/ADN
October 10, Saturday, 11am-4pm. Fall colors hike on the Turnagain Arm Trail Join Eagle River Nature Center volunteers Bob and Ann Fisher for a 7.5-mile traverse hike from Rainbow to Potter. The hike involves numerous elevation gains and losses, including one climb of 850 feet in a one-mile stretch. The trail may be muddy in places, but offers spectacular views of Turnagain Arm. Hikers should be in good shape and have completed a hike of a similar nature. Hikers are advised to bring a daypack with lunch/snacks, water and wind/rain clothing. Hikers will meet at the parking lot located just past the Chugach State Park Headquarters at mile 115.2 on the right side of the Seward Highway. There is a $5 parking fee (AK State Park day passes honored). The hike is limited to the first 12 people (at least 18 years old) who register by calling 694-2108. Well behaved dogs are welcome on the hike.

October 10, Saturday, 10am-4pm. Last day of the University Center Mall Farmer's Market. The market may continue depending on weather, check with the farmers at the market.

October 11, Sunday, 2pm. WONDERS OF LICHENS. What are those colorful things growing on trees and rocks? Eagle River Nature Center volunteer Lilly Goodman introduces you to the world of lichens. There will be a short indoor introduction, followed by a walk of 1 mile or less. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

October 17, Saturday, 2pm. Alaska Rock Garden Society monthly meeting. Plants for your Troughs, presented
by Florene Carney and Verna Pratt. In Palmer at the MTA building, 480 E. Commercial Dr.

October 18, Sunday, 2pm. Special mushroom growing workshop Join Eagle River Nature Center volunteers Dani Mazzotta and Michael “Gus” Gustafson to learn about edible mushroom inoculation through a PowerPoint presentation, followed by a chance to inoculate your own oyster mushrooms using grain spawn. Take home your own mushroom log and watch them develop over the following weeks. Limited to the first 10 participants (age 18 and up) who register at 694-2108. Cost $20; additional $5 parking for non-members.

October 19, Monday, 7pm. Anchorage Master Gardener Association meeting, Heirloom Seeds presented by Julie Riley, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, held at Cooperative Extension Service, 2221 E. Northern Lights Blvd. For information contact 786-6300

October 21, Wednesday, 7pm. Fireside chat series at the BLM Campbell Creek Science Center, 5600 Science Center Drive. Listen to a timely tale about science in real life. Call 267-1247 for more info.

State potato expert, otherwise known as the "Potato Guy",  Bill Campbell, with  contenders for the ugly potato contest at last year's pageant. Bill Roth/ADNState potato expert, otherwise known as the "Potato Guy", Bill Campbell, with contenders for the ugly potato contest at last year's pageant. Bill Roth/ADNOctober 22, Thursday, 6-9pm. Palmer Potato Pageant. Celebrate the potato with the "Potato Guy" himself, Bill Campbell, the state potato disease control specialist. Potato potluck. Sing spud songs, share recipes/jokes/poems/stories, bring your biggest/prettiest/ugliest/weirdest looking tuber. Potato arts and crafts for all. At the Palmer Railroad Depot.

October 23, Friday. 7pm. Central Peninsula Garden Club special presentation: Rock Garden Construction and Alpine Plants by Jaime Rodriguez. Jaime’s program last year was one of the most popular and requested for a repeat. At the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Bldg., on K-Beach Rd. Open to the public. Contact Marion Nelson at mmkn@ptialaska.net for more info.

October 24, Saturday, 1-4pm. Central Peninsula Garden Club special workshop: Plant Propagation from cuttings of various kinds by Jaime Rodriguez. “Everybody goes home with something,” says Jaime. There will be a wide variety of plant materials to work with including alpine varieties. At the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Bldg., on K-Beach Rd. $10, limited to 45 participants. Contact Marion Nelson at mmkn@ptialaska.net to register with your name, email and phone number.

October 25, Sunday, 2pm. Autumn in Denali. Photographer Colin Tyler Bogucki will share his favorite autumn moments from the past twelve years in Denali National Park, including stunning fall colors and a vast array of wildlife, large and small. At the Eagle River Nature Center. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

October 27-29, Tuesday-Thursday, in Ketchikan. The Alaska Cooperative Extension Service will host the 10th Annual Committee for Noxious and Invasive Plants Management Workshop followed by the 4th Annual Alaska Invasive Species Working Group Conference. Both will be held at the Cape Fox Lodge. Register by October 10 for a discount.

A parrot tulip - one of the plants examined in "The Botany of Desire." Photo by Ruth Dundas/PBSA parrot tulip - one of the plants examined in "The Botany of Desire." Photo by Ruth Dundas/PBSOctober 28, Wednesday, 7pm, Channel 7. THE BOTANY OF DESIRE, airs nationally on PBS. Michael Pollan's provocative best-seller comes to life, showing how human desires are an essential, intricate part of natural history. The program explores the natural history of four plants – the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato – and the corresponding human desires– sweetness, beauty, intoxication and controlling nature – that link their destinies to our own.The two-hour special begins in Michael Pollan’s garden, and roams the world, from the potato fields of Idaho and Peru to the apple orchards of New England, from a medical marijuana hot house to the tulip markets of Amsterdam.

GARDEN CLUBS AND ASSOCIATIONS
NOTE: Please check websites and contacts to confirm meetings.

Alaska Native Plant Society: First Monday of each month October through May, at 7:30pm. At the Campbell Creek Science Center. Contact admin@aknps.org for info.

Valley Garden Club: First Tuesday at 10:30am at the Old Catholic Church on Bogard Road. A short business meeting and an education program followed by a potluck lunch. It is a great time to catch up on all the gardening events and happenings in the Valley. All are welcome. Contact fpotter@mtaonline.net for more info.

North Root Big Lake Gardeners: First Tuesday, 6:30pm. At the Big Lake Library. Everyone is welcome! Call Linda Lockhart for more info, 892-8119.

Central Peninsula Garden Club: First Tuesday at 7pm at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Bldg., K-Beach Road. Everyone welcome. Contact Marion Nelson at mmkn@ptialaska.net

Anchorage Garden Club: First Thursday at 7pm at Pioneer School House basement, corner of Third Avenue and Eagle Street. Call the AGC hotline for program information, 566-0539.

Alaska Rose Society: Second Tuesday at 7pm. During the summer, we conduct outdoor workshops, take field trips and visit gardens. Locations vary, depending on the activity. Visitors and guests are welcome to all our summer activities. During the winter, education programs are presented at each meeting. Our meetings and educational programs are open to the public - visitors and guests are always welcome. Our winter meetings are usually held at the Central Lutheran Church, 1420 Cordova Street, on the corner of W. 15th Avenue and Cordova Street. Contact info@alaskarosesociety.org for info.

Wildflower Garden Club: Second Thursday at 10am at Central Lutheran Church, 15th Avenue and Cordova Street. Summer meetings are field trips. Go to their website for more information.

CANWIN (Citizen's Against Noxious Weeds Invading the North.) NOTE: Day of week and time have changed. Second Wednesday, 3-4:30pm, at the BLM’s Anchorage Field Office, 4700 BLM Road. (Another note: the street address has changed but it is still the same location.) E-mail or call Lori Zaumseil at AKCANWIN@aol.com, or call 245-2373 for more details.

Alaska Master Gardeners: Third Monday at 7 PM at UAF Cooperative Extension Service, 2221 E. Northern Lights Blvd. Summer meetings are field trips. 786-6300 for info.

Willow Garden Club: Third Thursday at 7 PM, Willow Community Center.

Alaska Rock Garden Society: Third Saturday at 2pm, September through March. Meetings alternate between Anchorage and Palmer. Anchorage contact, 522-3490; Wasilla contact, 1-907-357-2747. Call to find out meeting location and program.

Alaska Orchid Society: Fourth Tuesday at 7:30pm at Central Lutheran Church at the corner of 15th Ave.and Cordova St. Show and tell of orchid plants. Free and open to public.

Homer Garden Club: Fourth Sunday at 2pm. at the Best Western Bidarka Inn conference room.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service