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

August Calendar

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An entry in last year's Anchorage Garden Club annual flower show. Photo by Fran DurnerAn entry in last year's Anchorage Garden Club annual flower show. Photo by Fran Durner

ONGOING

Turpin Park, Abbott Loop Park, Lions Fairview Park, Lyn Ary Park, Little Campbell Creek Park. Please pencil in some time in your calendars this summer to help water, weed and general maintenance in the above parks. Email TREErificAnchorage@yahoo.com to let us know which days you can help.

Through September 3. Guided tours at the Alaska Botanical Garden every day at 1pm. Wednesdays: Storytime in the Garden, 6 pm (cancelled if raining), guided tour, 6:30 pm, live music, 7-8 pm. Shop in the Garden and nursery open until 7 pm. For information contact ABG, 770-3692.

CALENDAR

August 1st , Friday, 5-8 p.m. ART for the GARDEN FIRST FRIDAY ART OPENING & TAPAS BAR, Live Jazz Music from 5 –7 p.m. by Polychrome Jazz , With NED SPAIC – wrought iron art, BRENDA MILAN wood & metal art, BROOKE HEPPINSTALL wood art, GARDEN GATE - metal art collection, STONEHILL GARDEN - plants, concrete & metal art collection. At the The Garden Gate and The Red Beet Café & Bakery. At the Dahlia Street Market in Historic Downtown Palmer, 320 East Dahlia Avenue.

August 1, Friday, 6:30pm. Colorful foliage plants and their placement. Doug Tryck will lead weekly tours of his garden and nursery every Friday evening through September. The tours are free, but space is limited to 20 adults. Reservations are required. Call 345-2507 for information, parking instructions and reservations. Donations of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Alaska will be accepted.

August 2, Saturday, noon to 5pm. Coyote Gardens Tour Another chance to tour Les Brake's beautiful garden in Willow on Willow Fishhook Road. $7 donation to benefit a future Rock Garden Society seed collecting expedition. 495-6525 for info and directions.

August 2-3, Saturday and Sunday. Anchorage Garden Club 63rd Annual Flower Show 1:00 pm-9:00 pm on Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00pm on Sunday. Theme: "The Circus is in Town." At the Alaska Botanical Garden, 4601 Campbell Airstrip Road. Contact the Anchorage Garden Club hotline, 566-0539.

August 3, Sunday.North Root Big Lake Gardeners Hidden Valley Garden Tour Tour interesting and fabulous gardens in the Big Lake/Meadow Lakes area. Meet at Big Lake Library parking lot at 1pm to carpool. This is a progressive tour, so don't be late. Directions for only the first garden are given at the Library at 1pm. You must proceed to the next garden to get the map to the second garden and so on. There will also be a progressive game with winners selected at the final garden. Many of our gardens also have goodies to eat and or drink along the way. FREE. Donations will be applied to the NRBLG Scholarship Fund. Call Linda Lockhart at 892-8119 for more info.

August 4, Monday, 7pm. Anchorage Master Gardeners Association field trip to Carol Ross's "Perennials and Vegetables" at 3401 Richmond Avenue. Contact 786-6300.

August 6, Wednesday, 6-9pm. Mushroom Vroom with Diane Pleninger at Goose Lake Park. Find out what that creepy fungus, lurking in your local woodland, really has in mind. Learn whether you can eat it, or it is likely to eat you! This is a walking tour, but it might get wet and messy, so wear appropriate footwear and bring outdoor gear and a camera. Free. For ages 12 yrs +. Min 5/Max 20. To register, Contact: Ronn Randall, 343-4260.

August 7, Thursday, 7pm. Anchorage Garden Club monthly meeting, Heirlooms & Other Plants: How to Save Seeds. This program will focus on how to save seeds, best times for saving seeds and best times for starting seeds you have saved. Pioneer Schoolhouse, 437 E 3rd Avenue (3rd & Eagle). Contact AGC hotline, 566-0539.

August 8, Friday, 6:30. Those marvelous maples and other hardwoods. Doug Tryck will lead weekly tours of his garden and nursery every Friday evening through September. The tours are free, but space is limited to 20 adults. Reservations are required. Call 345-2507 for information, parking instructions and reservations. Donations of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Alaska will be accepted.

August 9, Saturday, 11am-5pm. ICICLE CREEK HIKE Join volunteers Bob and Ann Fisher for a 12-mile round trip hike from the Eagle River Nature Center to Icicle Creek. The terrain is fairly level with an elevation gain of about 600 feet. Hikers should be in good shape and have completed a hike of similar length. Hikers are advised to bring a daypack with snacks/lunch, water, wind/rain clothing and warm layers. Call the Nature Center for trail conditions. 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. Please provide a contact phone number and email address at the time of registration.

August 10, Sunday, 2pm. At the Eagle River Nature Center. Andy Anderson-Smith from the Alaska Native Plant Society leads a native plant walk that focuses on families of native plants, spores, pollen, and flowers. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

August 13, Wednesday, 6:30 pm. Mushroom Walk with local expert Diane Pleninger. Meet in the Alaska Botanical Garden nursery, 4601 Campbell Airstrip Road. Shop in the Garden open until 7:00 pm. Contact ABG, 770-3692.

Four different batches of raspberry preserves. August is raspberry month! Photo by Fran DurnerFour different batches of raspberry preserves. August is raspberry month! Photo by Fran DurnerAugust 14, Thursday, 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. BERRY I.D. AND MAKING JAMS AND JELLIES. Learn how to savor and save the goodness of Alaska's natural bounty. If you'd like to learn how to preserve your food at home safely while retaining high quality, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service series will teach you how. At the Sons of Norway Viking Hall, 8141 Briarwood St. $20 Pre-registration and payment required: Call 786-6300.

August 15, Friday, 6:30. Ponds and pond plants. What, where, and how. Doug Tryck will lead weekly tours of his garden and nursery every Friday evening through September. The tours are free, but space is limited to 20 adults. Reservations are required. Call 345-2507 for information, parking instructions and reservations. Donations of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Alaska will be accepted.

August 17, Sunday, 2pm. WILD BERRIES with VERNA PRATT Alaska Wildflower expert Verna Pratt leads this popular hike along the Iditarod and Albert Loop trail at the Eagle River Nature Center. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

August 18, Monday, 7pm. Anchorage Master Gardener Association field trips to Chuck Decker's for "Hardy and Hybrid Tea Roses", 2901 Breezewood Drive and 2) Sherry Tomlinson's "Perennials and Vines", 3100 Illiamna Avenue. Contact 786-6300.

August 20, Wednesday, noon til 9pm. Bring your show stopping flowers and giant veggies to the Alaska State Fair for the first crop entry. Click here for an exhibitor guide and instructions for first-time entrants.

August 21, Thursday, 3-5pm. Do your part against the spread of invasive weeds. Join Citizen Weed Warriors, Citizens Against Noxious Weeds Invading the North and the Anchorage Parks Foundation for a purple loosestrife weed pull at the Westchester Lagoon Nature Trail. All hands welcome! 343-4460 for more info

August 21- September 1. Alaska State Fair at the Palmer Fair Grounds. This year's theme will be "Alaska Is Turning 50. Bring on the Fun!" Flower and crop entries August 20 & 27 from 12:00 pm - 9:00 pm.

August 22, Friday, 6:30. Those microclimates and the placement of marginal plants. Doug Tryck will lead weekly tours of his garden and nursery every Friday evening through September. The tours are free, but space is limited to 20 adults. Reservations are required. Call 345-2507 for information, parking instructions and reservations. Donations of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Alaska will be accepted.

August 24, Sunday, 2pm. MUSHROOMS. Join guest presenters Diane Pleninger and Chris Maack for a 1-2 mile walk looking for edible and interesting mushrooms that grow along the trails at the Eagle River Nature Center this time of year. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

August 26, Tuesday, 7:30pm. Alaska Orchid Society monthly meeting at Central Lutheran Church at the corner of 15th Ave.and Cordova St. Show and tell of members flowering orchid plants before the program. Free and open to public.

August 27, Wednesday, noon til 9pm. Bring your show stopping flowers and giant veggies to the Alaska State Fair for the second crop entry. Click here for an exhibitor guide and instructions for first-time entrants.

I never knew cauliflower could be grown in purple! Photo by Fran DurnerI never knew cauliflower could be grown in purple! Photo by Fran DurnerAugust 27, Wednesday. PURPLE PLANT CONTEST at the Alaska State Fair. Enter noon til 3pm. Judging at 5:00 pm. Bring your purple flowers and vegetables to the Northrim Bank booth, which will be located in Pioneer Plaza on the Fairgrounds of the Alaska State Fair. Cash prizes awarded for first, second and third place. Click here for rules and more info.

August 29 Friday, 6:30. Shrubs and Vines. Doug Tryck will lead weekly tours of his garden and nursery every Friday evening through September. The tours are free, but space is limited to 20 adults. Reservations are required. Call 345-2507 for information, parking instructions and reservations. Donations of non-perishable goods for the Food Bank of Alaska will be accepted.

August 31, Sunday, 2pm. WILD TEA PARTY. Did you know that you can make delicious teas from rosehips, raspberry leaves, pineapple weed, yarrow, and more? Join naturalist Ute Olsson on a 1-mile walk at the Eagle River Nature Center to identify and taste these wild plants. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

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