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.

Dear Senators,


As Congress considers proposals to cut Medicaid, which insures 20 percent of Americans, I call on our elected officials to think not in numbers and abstractions, but rather grounded in the reality of the individual lives you will alter with the vote you cast in Washington.

Below, I share my story, and I implore you to listen to others as well.

Growing up on a farm in Washington we always had a large garden. My parents grew everything in this garden and my brothers and I were required to help. We never said we didn’t have anything to do or we were sent straight to the garden to weed. Oh the memories of those days! All of our days back then were spent playing outside with the horses and cows, riding and caring for them. However, we also had to take our turn weeding and thinning the rows of vegetables.

In the woods in springtime I love seeing the small tiny native wildflowers emerge to grace the forest floor. Dwarf dogwood (Cornus pumila), twin flower (Linnaea), shooting star (Dodecatheon alpinum), prickly wild rose (Rosa acicularis) and star flower (Trientalis borealis), just to name a few. I am lucky to these growing wild in the yard.

Whether you have a planter box on your apartment deck, a pot or hanging basket in your front or back yard sunny location, growing in containers is fun and easy. A small yard doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden, and containers are a perfect way to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs. I encourage you to give it a try.

Finding the plants that grow well in shade can be challenging but is not impossible. There are many perennials that will grow nicely for us in the shade and this list is not exhaustive. Our particular lot has many birch trees and has posed a challenge to grow plants that need more light and it has become clear to me that shade plants love it here. It has taken a while to find the right fit of plants to these shadier areas and persistence has definitely paid off.

In the days ahead as we plan and plant our gardens for summer, annuals provide that bold instant statement of color we desire. While we wait for our perennials to mature and bloom, annuals save the day, magically appearing seemingly overnight.

Annual plants, botanically speaking, complete their life cycle in one growing season and die off after the first fall frost.

Have you ever seen a Blue Star Memorial Marker and wondered what it was? Alaska has several and they are all associated with a garden.

Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama in 1880, Helen Keller developed a fever at 18 months of age that left her blind and deaf. She went on to become a woman of great intelligence, high ambition and many accomplishments.