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.

The South Fork Community Council recently passed a resolution asking Chugach State Park to start charging a parking fee at the Upper South Fork Eagle River Trailhead. They also wanted to see both sides of the public road leading to the trailhead signed as “No Parking”. Currently, only one side of the road is signed. The neighborhood hopes these measures will reduce the parking conflicts and congestion caused by park visitors parking along the road when the 40-car trailhead parking lot is full.

There is nothing more exciting to a gardener than to see the emergence of perennials in the spring. As the Alaskan spirit is tough, so is the Alaskan perennial that survives our cold harsh winters.

All perennials are not created equal. What is a perennial and how do some come back and not others? These questions can be costly as I found out when new to Alaska. This article then will attempt to save you from some of my Sourdough mistakes made early on.

By Andree McLeod

There’s a very important bill stuck in the Democrat-led House Majority Coalition that needs to be on the books in order to stop corruption in the Capitol.

SB 5 is sponsored by Senator Kevin Meyer (R, Anchorage) and has already passed the Senate unanimously.

(Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a new “In the Garden” column that will deal with all things gardening. Written by Eagle River master gardener Chris Wood, this column is intended to enlighten, entertain and educate everyone from novice gardeners to those with the greenest of thumbs. Please feel to write Chris with questions, comments or column ideas. We hope you “dig” this new feature as much as we do…enjoy!)