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The Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners Association is gearing up for its statewide gardening conference, May 2 to 4.
"We hold this conference once every two years, with cooperation from the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service," said Elizabeth Cuadra, vice president of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners. "Our experience has been that people come from all over Alaska, nearby parts of Canada and some from the Pacific Northwest."
"I am really looking forward to the conference," said Susanne Williams, co-president with her husband Sandy. "I think we have some good speakers."
The conference highlights three featured speakers and nine workshops. Extras include a free trade show, a free plant sale, and tours of outstanding Juneau gardens. The American Primrose Society will hold a primrose show at the same time.
The conference begins May 2 with a reception at 7 p.m. hosted by Glacier Gardens' Rainforest Adventure. The remainder of the conference takes place at Centennial Hall. Hours on May 3 are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is a noon garden tour of Douglas, a dinner break at 4:45 p.m., and the Seeds of Change session at 7:30 p.m. Hours on May 4 are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. A garden tour of downtown begins at 3 p.m., when state offices will be closed and the tour will have less impact on traffic, Williams said.
Featured speakers for the conference are Jim Hole, Micaela Colley and Ciscoe Morris.
Hole is co-owner of Hole's Greenhouse and Gardens, Ltd., in Alberta, Canada, and garden writer for several Canadian periodicals. He will speak on hardy plants and new varieties.
Micaela Colley, who manages the research farm operated by Seeds of Change near Santa Fe, N.M., will speak on seed saving and the importance of genetic preservation of a diversity of plant life.
Ciscoe Morris is manager for grounds and landscaping at Seattle University. He has his own television spot on Channel 35 and a weekly radio show, Williams said. He will speak on perennials suitable for shade/wet Northwest climates.
"We saw Ciscoe at the Northwest Garden Show in Seattle in February, and people were running up to him to get autographs," Susanne Williams said. "He is very excited about coming to Juneau. He is a very enthusiastic speaker, and just thinks everybody ought to garden."
Workshops will be led by Alaskan experts. Debbie Hinchey will speak on Ideas Gleaned from Gardens Across America. Ward Findlay of Chocolate Lily will speak on flower arranging. "People were so excited about his arrangements two years ago that he agreed to come back," Williams said.
Margaret Tharp and David Lendrum, proprietors of Landscape Alaska, will speak on Restoration Planting including Ground Covers. Janis and Ed Buyarski will talk about the Biblical gardens, maze and rosary path they have established at the Shrine of St. Therese. South-central region Extension agent Julie Riley will come from Anchorage to talk about Managing the Home Greenhouse. Retired Juneau veterinarian Cliff Lobaugh has been persuaded to journey from his home on Admiralty Island to talk about growing and cooking vegetables in Southeast Alaska. Chris Mertl will speak about ornamental trees and shrubs.
The final workshop will be a question and answer session with Juneau extension agent Jim Douglas and other workshop leaders.
For those who register by April 19, the fee is $65. The fee after April 19 will be $80. For a detailed program and a registration form, check the Web site at www.spectrumdesignonline.com/gconf. Or contact the local Extension Office at 465-8749.
Admission to the trade show and plant sale at Centennial Hall is free. Exhibitors at the trade show include Spectrum Sales, Alaska Silk Co., Western Auto, Marcia Miller (pottery), Juneau Garden Club, Juneau Community Garden Association, Don Abel Building Supplies, Judith Hauck (solar garden umbrellas), Carol Biggs of Alaska Nature Connection, Ann Roberts, author of the "Alaska Gardening Guide," Hearthside Books, Sunrise Gardens, the Downtown Business Association, Landscape Alaska, Ed's Edible Landscape, Jane Preston (plants), Tom Wehnes (fine woodwork), Chelsea Martin (crocheting), Tisket Seslar (scratch board art), Allen Henriques (wood carvings) and Jolene Shelton of Quiet Thyme (handmade herbal soaps, etc.).
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at email@example.com.