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

February Garden Calendar

View Garden Gallery
Submit Your Garden Photos!

Have you ordered your seeds and tubers yet? Won't be long now. Photo by Fran Durner/ADNHave you ordered your seeds and tubers yet? Won't be long now. Photo by Fran Durner/ADNSign up now! for a five week Organic Gardening course at Mat-Su College (AGRI 138) with Ellen Vande Visse. Five Friday evenings and a Saturday field trip from March 19 - April 17. (907) 745-9746 for more info.

February 2, Tuesday, 6:30pm, North Root Big Lake Gardeners monthly meeting at the Big Lake Library. Kim Sinnett will present Success with houseplants, taking starts from African Violets and Jade Plants and taking cuttings from your tomato plants. Kim might have a few extras she's willing to share! Randi Perlman will bring you up to speed on the Spring Symposium. Call Linda Lockhart for more info, 892-8119.

A greenhouse grown heirloom tomato. Photo by Fran Durner.A greenhouse grown heirloom tomato. Photo by Fran Durner.February 2, Tuesday, 7pm, Central Peninsula Garden Club monthly meeting. Tomatoes & More Tomatoes. We’re long overdue for a worthy tomato program. Panelists Rosemary Kimball, Margaret Simon, Jane Madison and beginning tomato grower, Jeff Babbit, will share their successes, blunders, pest issues, greenhouse set ups and favorite or not so favorite tomato varieties. Some of these experienced tomato growers start their plants from seed. Some of the panelists will have handouts and some have tomato seeds to share! The question and answer time promises to be lively. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Bldg., K-Beach Road. Everyone is welcome. Contact Marion Nelson at mmkn@ptialaska.net for more info.

February 3-7, Wednesday-Sunday, Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. Many excellent speakers and acres of indoor display gardens. Great winter break for Alaskans. See previous blog post for more details and links.

City of Flowers: A muni gardener waters baskets of lobelia and marigolds along 4th Avenue downtown. Erik Hill/ADNCity of Flowers: A muni gardener waters baskets of lobelia and marigolds along 4th Avenue downtown. Erik Hill/ADNFebruary 4, Thursday, 6-7 p.m. Anchorage City Hall, 1st floor conference room. Festival of Flowers Initial Planning Meeting. Get involved with the inaugural 2010 Festival of Flowers. Anchorage has long been recognized as the “City of Flowers” and is known for its amazing flower beds and baskets. The Festival of Flowers, scheduled for June 5 in Town Square, has the potential to be a fabulous event to include music, flower auctions, educational programs; make it-take it stations, venders and more. The sky and your imagination is the limit. Please help us make this an event to remember and at the same time raise money and community awareness for our municipal flower program. Contact Cheri Spink at cspink@anchoragedowntown.org or 279 5655 and Cathy Janigo at janigocd@muni.org or 343-4492

February 6, Saturday, 2:30-4pm. Alaska Botanical Garden Winter Workshop Series. Fungi Identification. Kate Mohatt of the U.S. Forest Service will speak and give a power point presentation on fabulous fungi. Held at the UAA / APU Consortium Library room 307. $5 ABG members, $10 non-members. For registration and information, call 562-7055.

A downy woodpecker visits a backyard feeder.  Photo by Fran DurnerA downy woodpecker visits a backyard feeder. Photo by Fran DurnerFebruary 7, Sunday, 2pm. ALASKAN WOODPECKERS. Downy and Hairy woodpeckers are frequent visitors at our bird feeders. Learn more about these amazing birds and their unique adaptations. Have you ever wondered, for example, how woodpeckers peck without getting headaches? At the Eagle River Nature Center. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

February 8-12, Monday-Friday. 12th Alaska Forum on the Environment - 2010 The largest environmental conference in Alaska brings together rural and urban, industry and private, agency and public, students and scholars, youth and elders from around the world. With a diverse agenda, the conference offers more than 150 presenters, 80 sessions and 4 special keynote events. Session topics include climate change, energy and alternative energy options, invasive species, fish and wildlife habitat, arctic development, environmental justice and many more. At the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.

February 11, Thursday, 10am. Wildflower Garden Club monthly meeting. Dispelling Fall Gardening Myths. Julie Riley, UAF Cooperative Extension Service Horticulture Agent, discusses those fall gardening chores that we really need to do, and those that may not be critical to winter plant survival.

February 13, Saturday, 10am. Snowshoe Tree ID Tour at the Alaska Botanical Garden. Meet at the entrance to the ABG. Snowshoes dependent on the weather. RSVP required at 562-7055. Free to ABG members, $5 nonmembers. Repeats on Thursday, February 18 at noon.

February 13, Saturday, noon-4pm. The Valley Arts Alliance sponsors Green Hearts, a gathering of green-hearted (and minded) folks in the depth of an Alaskan winter who can't wait for spring! The event will take place at the Mat-Su College greenhouse on Trunk Road in Wasilla. There will be live music and informal talks about gardening, art and photography. Free. Contact Carmen Summerfield at carmen@valleyartsalliance.com for more info or if you would like to participate.

February 13, Saturday, 2:30-4pm. Alaska Botanical Garden Winter Workshop Series. Tabletop Gardening with Carmel Tysver. Carmel is a Master Gardener and a member of the Alaska Rock Garden Society and well known for her hyper tufa gardening. Held at the UAA / APU Consortium Library room 307. $5 ABG members, $10 non-members. For registration and information, call 562-7055.

February 14, Sunday. Valentines day. Kiss your favorite gardener!

February 15, Monday, 7pm. Alaska Master Gardeners monthly meeting. Bugs, Slugs & Other Pests; Organic & Least Toxic Means of Control with Corlene Rose, pest management specialist with the CES. 786-6300 for more info.

This is potato C.B. 29-6, a potato that looks beautiful when cooked, on display at last year's potato conference. Fran Durner/ADNThis is potato C.B. 29-6, a potato that looks beautiful when cooked, on display at last year's potato conference. Fran Durner/ADNFebruary 16-17, Tuesday-Wednesday, Produce Growers Conference (Formerly the Potato and Veggie Conference) in Palmer at the Train Depot. Presentations include the latest on potato research and the rhubarb project. $45 for both days, $30 one day, includes lunch. (Lunch catered by the Red Beet Cafe.) Open to everyone. Click here for registration and agenda.

February 18, Thursday, 8:30am-12:30pm. Plant Industry Meeting sponsored by the Alaska Division of Agriculture and facilitated by John Peter Thompson, of Behnke Nurseries Co. inc. in Maryland, who has worked to develop similar cooperative programs in Maryland, Delaware, and other states. This meeting will discuss voluntary steps the horticulture industry can take to reduce the introduction and spread of invasive species to Alaska. These voluntary steps will be crafted by and for the members as a horticulture industry cooperator. In the Atwood Building, 550 W 7th Ave. (near E St.) Room 1860. Free parking is provided in the visitor area on the second floor of the parking garage directly across from the Atwood Building. Contact Gino Graziano 745-8127 or gino.graziano@alaska.gov for more info.

February 18, Thursday, 12 noon. Snowshoe Tree ID Tour at the Alaska Botanical Garden. Meet at the entrance to the ABG. Snowshoes dependent on the weather. RSVP required at 562-7055. Free to ABG members, $5 nonmembers.

Rita Jo Shoultz on a bed of discarded peonies at Omeo Farms in New Zealand. Photo courtesy Rita Jo Shoultz.Rita Jo Shoultz on a bed of discarded peonies at Omeo Farms in New Zealand. Photo courtesy Rita Jo Shoultz.February 19-20, Friday-Saturday, Alaska Peony Growers Association Conference, Lessons Learned at the Providence Medical Center Building in Anchorage. Jesse de la Garza from Miami will discuss Alaska's position in the worldwide peony market. Home gardeners and those considering peony production on a larger scale are welcome to attend to hear the "lessons learned" from growers who already have plants in the ground.

February 20, Saturday, 1-3pm. Vermicomposting - composting with worms - part of the Spring Garden Series at the Spring Creek Farm. Spring Creek Farm is home to Alaska Pacific University's Mat-Su Valley Kellogg Campus. Class is free, donations are accepted. Take the Glenn Hwy. north of Palmer, left onto Farm Loop Rd., and then a right onto Lossing. Signs will be posted. Contact Michael Kircher at (907) 746-2714 for more info.

February 25-26, Thursday-Friday, Nursery & Greenhouse Conference and Polar Grower Trade Show in Juneau at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. Topics include "Slugs and snails" and "Low maintenance landscape design." John Peter Thompson is a featured speaker. Everyone is welcome to attend. Contact Darren Snyder, Juneau CES agent at (907) 796-6281 or dgsnyder@alaska.edu Stay for the Southeast Garden Workshop on Saturday, February 27.

February 27, Saturday, 12noon-4pm. Beginning Beekeeping Part 1. Part of the Spring Garden Series at the Spring Creek Farm. Spring Creek Farm is home to Alaska Pacific University's Mat-Su Valley Kellogg Campus. Beekeeping Part 2 is held on Saturday, March 6. Class is $35 for both sessions. Take the Glenn Hwy. north of Palmer, left onto Farm Loop Rd., and then a right onto Lossing. Signs will be posted. Contact Michael Kircher at (907) 746-2714 for more info.

February 27, Saturday, 8am-3pm. Southeast Garden Workshop in Juneau. A combination of local, agency and out of town speakers on topics regarding growing both ornamental and edible plants in Southeast Alaska. Contact Juneau Garden Club president Eileen Hosey at eileengh@yahoo.com or Darren Snyder at (907) 796-6281 or dgsnyder@alaska.edu for more info.

February 27, Saturday, Delta Farm Forum in Delta Junction. Call Delta CES agent Phil Kaspari at 895-4215 for more info.

February 28, Sunday, 2pm. Owling Around Anchorage. Join Liza Sanden for an informational program about going “owling” in Anchorage. She will discuss spring owl activities and give tips on where to listen for owls in the Anchorage bowl. At the Eagle River Nature Center. Free program; $5 parking for non-members.

Collet: Dominique Collet searches for mushrooms in the leaf litter along a trail at the Eagle River Nature Center last fall.  Fran Durner photo.Collet: Dominique Collet searches for mushrooms in the leaf litter along a trail at the Eagle River Nature Center last fall. Fran Durner photo.February 28, Sunday, 2pm. Homer Garden Club monthly meeting. Dominique Collet will present A Feast for the Eye: Alaskan Mushroom Watercolors focusing on local edible mushrooms. Collet is vice president of southcentral Alaska’s Mycological Society. At the Best Western Bidarka Inn conference room. Contact Neil Wagner neil@sustainablehomer.org or 235-6953 for more info.

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.

ANC-CWMA (Anchorage Cooperative Weed Management Area) Second Wednesday, 3-4:30pm, at the BLM’s Anchorage Field Office, 4700 BLM Road. E-mail Gretchen Gary at AKCANWIN@aol.com or garygretchen@gmail.com 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. The public is welcome. Contact Neil Wagner at neil@sustainablehomer.org or 235-6953 for more info.

Anchorage TREErific meets sporadically through the year. Check their website or call Nancy Beardsley at 343-4288 or email TREErificAnchorage@yahoo.com

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