Opinion

To the editor,

It is berry picking time in Alaska and the race is on to forage for your favorites and add to those special recipes of jams, jellies, pies, muffins, etc.

If you grow your own berries in your yard, they are ready now to pick. In sunny locations you may have been picking them for a while. Whether you pick them for your breakfast, or freeze for later use when you are not so busy, berries are delicious and worth the wait and space in your yard.

Concerned with the decrease of pollinators and amphibians, The National Garden Clubs reached out to their regions in a special two-year, (2017-19) presidential campaign called “Service in Action.” This project focuses on increasing awareness of the seriousness of the demise of pollinators and amphibians, in an attempt to encourage conservation and protection of these garden partners. We are asked to consider how, “the first bio indicators, amphibians and pollinators, by their presence, abundance or lack of, reveal the health of the surrounding ecosystems.”

Author’s note: This was my report to the Pacific Region Garden Clubs, (the eight western states) concerning Alaska’s Community Gardens of which I am a Chair. I choose to share this information and I hope that you are encouraged by it:

How wonderful it is to see the excitement for gardening and “growing your own.” In Alaska we are seeing an increased interest in the growing of vegetables, herbs and fruits within our communities, cities and in the Bush.

The Lilies are blooming and they are gorgeous! Asiatic hybrids, (Lilium) are hardy Zones 3-10, and easy to grow. Native to Asia, mature plants can reach 1-6 feet and have long glossy leaves. These beauties come in many bold colors. Unlike Oriental Lilies, they have no fragrance. These plants are low maintenance, a perennial, and suffer from few diseases. A definite must have for the Alaskan gardener.

BIRD VETCH (Vicia cracca)

There is nothing more exasperating to a gardener than to see their plants being devoured by bugs. Just yesterday, tiny Thrips were all over my long awaited white Peony blooms and my disdain for these little creeps came out.

If it’s one thing we have in our area to work with its rocks. The land here has natural outcroppings and rocky slopes that can be transformed and arranged into a beautiful rock garden, embracing’s natures built in gift. A stone wall and stone garden paths adds interest and provides functionality to steep areas in the garden. Rocks and walls add value to your property.

When the rest of your flower garden is finishing up its bloom, if you have dahlias, you are in luck because you are now witnessing multiple gorgeous colorful flowers from mid to late summer until frost.

Dahlias are subtropical plants and natives from the mountain regions of Mexico. A Swedish botanist and student of Carl Linnaeus, Anders Dahl in the 18th century had the genus dahlia flower named after him.

“Super Bear - Saving One Bear At A Time” is the theme of this year’s Bear Paw Festival. Who are your superheroes? I was honored to be named “Wonder Woman” by my cabinet this year… so how exciting to know our local chamber chose this theme. The festival will be July 12-17, check out http://bearpawfestival.com for more information.

This year, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions Club will sponsor the annual Bear Paw Pageant in conjunction with the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce for the 12th year in a row.

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