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.

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

Ice luminaria warm Willow nights

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Ice luminaria throw a warm light despite freezing temperatures. Photo by Les Brake.Ice luminaria throw a warm light despite freezing temperatures. Photo by Les Brake. Les Brake: Plantsman by summer, The Ice Man in winter.

Les Brake busy setting up his ice display. Photo courtesy Les Brake.Les Brake busy setting up his ice display. Photo courtesy Les Brake.Les Brake is presenting his annual luminaria display this Friday from 5 - 9:30pm at Coyote Garden on the Willow Hatcher Pass Rd. Created with tinted water frozen in molds - Les uses everything from Bundt pans to milk cartons to ice cube trays - he then builds sculptures and luminaria by freezing pieces together. He has even been known to "glue" sculptures to the side of his house in below freezing temperatures to get the look he wants.

Les "frozen" in motion as he holds an ice sculpture in place while it freezes to the wall. Photo courtesy Les Brake.Les "frozen" in motion as he holds an ice sculpture in place while it freezes to the wall. Photo courtesy Les Brake.He will be lighting about 21 pieces - enough to line about 90' of driveway this weekend. While temperatures had been down to -18 this past weekend, Les expects more temperate weather - in the (above) teens - for this lighting. Never-the-less, the house will be open for warming as well.

Take the Parks Highway north to Willow and a right onto the Hatcher Pass - Fishhook Rd. Coyote Garden is about 7 miles down on the right. Call Les at (907) 495-6525 for more info. Les says future lightings are possible but dependent on the weather so call him if you can't make it this Friday but may be able to on another weekend.

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