Thursday, November 20, 2014

Well, Al Gore was right, sort of

reflective orange poles

We are having a remarkable winter here in Alaska. My swamp-dwelling sister in the southern USA is enjoying colder weather. You read that correctly. Alaska is warmer that most of the nation. Cue the music from the Twilight Zone now.

Yep, it’s a heat wave, or climate change, or whatever. I have never seen green grass at the end of November in Anchorage before, and I’ve been here forever. Our lawns are typically covered with a foot or more of snow, not up for mowing consideration! (If you were wondering, the answer was no. The mower was put to bed for the year.) I even inserted those tall, orange, reflective pole guides through the garden for the snow blower (don’t ask)!

Yet here we are. What to do? The alpine skiers are getting desperate. The cross country ski types had a least a thin base to ski on the trails, for a while. It’s pretty spotty to non existent in my part of town. There’s always ice skating. Two years ago at this time I was skating on glass ice at Finger Lake in Palmer, Alaska. I could literally see fish frozen in the ice it was so crystal clear. Aside: When skating on lakes here, one can’t be the nervous type and truly enjoy it. There will be cracking noises. Sometimes very disturbing ones. Like the cracks and booms are having a conversation together. “Look at that fool! Let’s make her wish she had never laced her skates! Ha ha! Crack! Boom! Creak!” Last week a friend told me her son had fallen in to his thighs at Potter’s Marsh while ice skating. I guess it’s true. We are getting warmer.

My studded tires, which were installed the moment I suspected the snow wouldn’t melt away, are now just loud and useless as I roar down the freeway. I don’t dare take them off though. That would be tempting fate.

I would be more excited if the killing frost date was pushed back in proportion to the warm weather now. As it is, everything died at the typical time, and now it’s just dead stuff with no snow. Which is how it is in other, more southerly locales, I guess. At least the Halloween jack-o-lanterns used to freeze so I could easily heave them into the yard for the moose to graze. Not so much now. Eew.

smushed pumpkins


How’s the weather? Is your area experiencing some strange temperatures?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The curtain falls, but not today


Deschampsia, Physocarpus, Achillea, Festuca, Calamagrostis

There is a persistent garden legend around here that has begun to annoy me. I heard it again the last week of July from a new-to-gardening friend. I told her that her container plants looked really thirsty (my thoughts were more like, “All that money you spent on those annuals is going to go down the drain if you don’t water them today!” Yeah, they were really that close to death. Her response? “It doesn’t matter, right? They are just going to die in a week anyway.”

smells great too

Au contraire, my friend. I have plants blooming into October (stop laughing everyone)! I told her she had a good month or 6 weeks left of her container and to keep watering it.

Salvia, Sedum, Carex (collected locally), Dianthus, Alyssum, Stachys

What was blooming, September 23rd, in my garden*:

1. Salvia

2. Achillea

3. Alyssum

4. Dahlia

5. Petunia

6. Papaver

7. Verbascum

8. Penstemon

9. Periscaria nummalaria aurea

10. Viola sp.

11. Sedum

12. Moss

Sagina subulata 'Aurea'

What was blooming, October 17, in my garden:

1. Salvia

2. Achillea

3. Alyssum

4. Penstemon

5. Moss

*You’ll notice this list is not very specific as far as variety, but my computer (to put it in the evocative language of someone that lives at my house but shall remain unnamed) “took a dump” and my plant list is looking something like $%^&&*>"*!@#

There was quite a drop off in types of plants in bloom over the course of about a month, but still, it’s something! It should give heart to those who assume Alaska has a three month window of bloom that ends like a guillotine on midnight, August 31st.  And for the record, it hasn’t snowed yet at my house. Woohoo!!


What is the die-off date in your area?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I don’t need the reminder, thanks

This is not my dream, Mr. Crosby

Today, Bing Crosby told me his favorite dream. We are not on speaking terms, Bing and I, but he got up in my grill, as the kids say. How can I ever forget the moment?

There I was, pushing my cart along, searching for bulk commodities at an enormous food warehouse, and then out of nowhere, I’m walking past the sound of a voice crooning “I’m dreaming of a whiiiiite Christmas… just like the ones I used to knowwww.” I was momentarily stunned and distracted from my important quest for sliced apples with the thought “#$%^” and then the thought “but it was only Halloween and Thanksgiving at (that other store) today! I guess it really is colder on this side of town.” Alaskans don’t need or like to be reminded that snow is coming, so take your dream, Bing, and stuff it.

What’s the rush, I say. Either pace yourself with dignity, retailers, or just leave everything up all year. Need an Easter wreath in September? No problem, (store) has it on aisle 175, just shy of the St. Patrick’s Day edible glitter for your cupcakes and after you hit the Valentine’s Day throw pillows.

I want the dignity of enjoying autumn without thinking any of these three things: 1. how many hours it’s going to take to set up the Christmas tree, 2. what, oh what to buy for the in-laws, and 3. whether we should do a ham or turkey this year. It is getting colder, I admit. But that could be said for 9 months of the year here. I am trying in vain to live in the moment and merchants aren’t helping.

I don’t wear a coat yet (a vest doesn’t count). I haven’t put my bicycle away. The lawn still needs to be mowed (blech) and the dandelions are in bloom. So that means it is not Christmas, nor even Halloween.

My plants, for the most part, are still alive in their containers (albeit the favored ones are in the house because the piano movers came on Friday and everything in their path to the front door would have been demolished). My variegated Carex is still going strong after two summers outside and a winter in the house, so back in it came. My most expensive plant (grumble, mutter), the Phormium, also came inside. “Is this the final resting place for this octopus plant?” someone asked me yesterday. It is both a maroon curtain to the kitchen and a jump rope for the dining room. I haven’t decided if I will bring the dark-leaved Begonia into the house or it will die a sudden, cold death like the petunias and the orange Dahlia. But you get the point, right? It is barely autumn, let me have a minute more with my season!


Do you live in the moment? What holiday d├ęcor is up around your area?

Related Posts with Thumbnails