I am in Iceland at the moment, reportedly missing some really nice flowers in the TundraGarden. The other day I went for a walk in Reykjavik, and saw some forget-me-nots by a fence. I’m not sure if they were native or not, since there were a number of double-flowered columbines there which I am quite sure aren’t native. The forget-me-nots were fairly tall, but the flowers were tiny and rather pale.
Forget-me-nots in Iceland.
The ones I have at home are shorter (although getting taller with warmer weather–soon they will be as tall as they were when I got them in Point Hope) and much bluer.
Forget-me-nots in Barrow
This blog is usually pretty quite in the winter. The garden is buried under X feet of snow, and that just doesn’t make for a lot of interesting posts. To top that off, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer last Thanksgiving, and died right after New Year’s. She was a smoker, and it got her in the end.
But now the garden is coming back to life. After a couple warm days, it has been a cold gray spring. The ice never really opened up, so Barrow caught no whales, something which hasn’t happened in a very long time, since before I first visited in the 1980s, maybe a lot longer.
As late as the end of May, the garden was covered with a fair bit of snow.
TG at the end of May.
In a week and a half, the snow had melted, and the flowers had just begun to peek out.
The first Diapensia
Buttercups coming into bloom.
Willows coming into bloom.
Now things are really moving fast. Just a week later the Diapensia are in full flower, the willow flowers are really huge, and buttercups (both snow and dwarf) are blooming!
S. longifolia in full bloom.
Several willows in flower.
Diapensia in full flower.
Yesterday I gave a talk on the TG to nearly 20 local folks! It was part of a series, loosely centered on local food production, being put on by Ilisaġvik College as part of the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service. I talked a bit about how the TG got started, showed a lot of plant & flower pictures and talked about how to get plants (step 1: get permission of the land owner), and the cultural requirements of different plants. I also talked a bit about water features & birds and animals in the garden. The whole thing was taped, and when time permits will be edited and posted on BASCmedia’s YouTube channel. I’ll put a link up then.
I also mentioned a number of books. I’ve made a Book Lists page which I just put up. I’ll add to it as I think of things.
I’m always happy to answer any questions.
Posted in Arctic, birds, flowers, garden, pool
Tagged Alaska, Arctic, Barrow, birds, Cooperative extension service, flowers, garden, Plant, Water feature
…or the US, for that matter. Forget-me-nots are the Alaska state flower, and this is, without a doubt, the farthest north plant. I transplanted it from Point Hope years ago, and it is doing very well this year, with flowers a good 5 inches taller than ever before in Barrow (although still about 6 inches shorter than they were in Point Hope).
The farthest north forget-me-nots in Alaska
I clicked on a link to an Alaska Dispatch slideshow and imagine my surprise to see the TundraGarden in one of the pictures (and my back door in another).
It was a nice sunny day, and the buttercups were really spectacular. So here are a few more pictures for the buttercup fans out there.
Pigmy or dwarf buttercups.
Buttercups in the sunshine