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

Enjoy the winter wonderland

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The lilac in winter. Fran Durner photo.The lilac in winter. Fran Durner photo.Every winter I grudgingly give in to admiration as snow blankets the landscape. I hate it when it first begins to snow but once it’s landed, it works it’s way into my heart.

The trees are postcard picture perfect, the color of light is muted and pastel. Everything looks lovely.

That old-fashioned snow-globe scene takes on special meaning for gardeners. Deep snow means a good insulating mulch for our precious plants. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as it piles up.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the garden no longer holds visual interest. Stalks and seed pods of tall plants left standing take on a sculptural appearance. Grasses, arbors and garden ornaments look pretty, even amusing with their dusting of snow. The low light angle throws elongated shadow puppets all over the yard and fence.

Swags and wreaths of fragrant cedar, spruce and pinecones decorate homes. Ice luminaria, especially those with frozen leaves and flowers are a real treat. Make as many as you can.

One thing to remember: Snow on the ground is good but if it is weighing down fragile branches of trees and bushes, it can do damage. Try and take a moment to knock the snow off with a broom handle.

Growing up in a big city of cement and tall buildings meant there wasn’t much of a landscape to look at out the window in winter. A city has it’s own charms but it’s just not the same. In a city, the view is inwards. Here, I find I’m always looking outside and the view is beautiful and interesting at all times of the year. Even and especially in winter.

To all gardeners, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

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