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Central Peninsula Master Gardener News By Rosemary Kimball

WOW!!! The bright spot of the month was Brenda Adams of Gardens By Design in Homer (www.gardensbybrenda.com) who started off our spring lecture series. It was snowing that night, yet we had 65 people show up for her talk!

Brenda and her husband came up to Alaska for a long weekend in 1991 and casually drove to Homer. They stopped at the overlook coming into town, fell in love with the area and six months later moved into their newly-built house. Now that’s what I call moving!

Brenda had a Power Point presentation of gardens that she has designed in the Homer area starting with ‘before’and going through to the finished products. Her web site has the pictures she showed us, but what you don t get are her explanations of the site’s challenges and her solutions to them. Her web site shows what she’s accomplished at the Homer Boat Harbor, not the most glamorous of venues. Her ‘before’pictures show two sites with absolutely NO redeeming features: compacted soil, people trails, gravel. The finished products are small, virtually maintenance- free, attractive, raised bed gardens.

Two things that really grabbed my attention were a perennial Geranium named Rozanne and a big rock she used for a water feature in a garden. She got Rozanne, the geranium, from Fritz Creek Gardens, and that flower is a “must have” for me next summer: low growing and big blue flowers with white eyes. I have a site where I can let it spread as large as it wants and it can turn into a “thug” in a

small area The other . Rozanne

grabber, the rock, was 9 feet by 2-1/2 feet by I don t know what. Me, The Tightwad of all tightwads, would have shelled out the cost of that rock (substantial) in half a heartbeat and with great delight!






There’s a certain amount of plant angst when one bunks a garden designer for the night. Kathy Wartinbee just laughed and said her garden was perfect for Brenda’s visit— covered by snow!

Ramrod Janice brought up the fact that we d been doing the public lecture series for nine years! That would be nine Pad Thais, at least thirty batches of cookies that we bring as enticements for an equal number speakers. The lecture series started with a cohort of people in a Master Gardener class that wanted to get their hours in with limited opportunities down here for that, and has morphed into some really interesting programs! J.D. Megchelson, holder of the Alaska 1,019 pound record pumpkin is speaking February 15. We’re planning on our goodies having a pumpkin base.

Other then Brenda’s star in the firmament, the winter is continuing in its slow pace. It’s so slow I’ve got all my herb and spice jars filled and alphabetized and I’ve ordered and received my first few seed orders. That’s slow! Don t forget to go to Territorial Seed Company (www.territorial- seed.com) to check out the Beaverlodge series of tomatoes, developed by the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta, Canada. And Thompson and Morgan have a 3-foot tall hollyhock they say blooms early enough that it can be used as an annual! Got that one too.

The last day of December we had just one snowshoe hare track across the driveway. That night we had a quarter inch of snow so the tracks were fresh the next morning and it looked like there were herds of hares that crossed the drive in several places! This looks like it’s going to be a hare-curry-for-dinner year. After the decade vacation from them we’ve had, I suppose we have it coming. (Trivia note: hares are born furred and with open eyes; rabbits, nude and blind.)

I heard on the radio in early January that according to a British Meteorological Report, 2007 is to be the warmest summer on record in the world because of greenhouse gases and El Niño. I think I will put the parthenocarpic squash down in the lower garden, over and under plastic, instead of in front of the south-ish facing greenhouse since I don t have to remember to pollinate them every morning. I hope the Brits were including Alaska in the warm world.

Don t forget the Master Gardener’s Conference in Fairbanks March 16 and 17. MG Kathy Wartinbee and I are flying up from Anchorage and taking the train back on Sunday after the meeting. Listening to Dr. Bob Bors from Saskatchewan talking about fruit for the North Country is worth the price of admission. As frosting, Julie Riley will be speaking also and we know she’s good. It’s also cheaper housing for the winter festival up there and let’s not forget the museum has been redone and is getting rave reviews.

o r t h N o w i

e r n B r e w e r s f o n l y t h e s n o w w o u


m e l t . . .



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