Quarterly Newsletter of
Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum
Autumn Issue September 2021
Quarterly News and Updates
For your Fall reading enjoyment, this issue is bursting
with updates and stories...
A Cascade of Projects: A summer wrap-up by JOA Manger Ginger Hudson; Your Membership Matters! By FJOA Board Member Pat Harris; Fall Color Planting Tips by FJOA Member Susan Cable; Summer 2021 Docent Numbers; Raffle 2021 Rundown by FJOA President Pat White; Quick Summer Plant Sale thoughts by Ginger Hudson; Lovey Loo Update by Pat White
A Cascade of Projects:
An article by JOA Manager, Ginger Hudson
Vegetable garden and daises on a sunny summer day.
Have you ever started working on a project and once you break into it find three other things that need to be done? Then, while you’re at it, and you have access to some extra machinery that’s not standard around the property, you decide “hey, let’s really put this tool to use!” And, one thing leads to another, then before anyone realizes there are three major projects going on. That happened to me this summer, and it wasn’t supposed to.

As the new manager of JOA, I intended to observe and learn the cycles of the place. After rebuilding my seasonal staff from the loss of one early on, the hard-working garden team realized there was a black-gold mine in the back-forty. The back-forty is our work/storage/resource zone behind the accessible parking and garage. Among the resources is a sizable compost heap built up over the years by Merrill and his summer staff during his tenure. Talk about continuing the theme in TWIGS about transitions! Gardeners know it is not easy to make our own compost in Alaska, not without special techniques anyway. Time was the only requirement for decomposition of the JOA pile.

Initial observations discovered while weeding beds at JOA, and attempting to patch sections of damaged lawn, showed me the soil is very thin onsite. The arboretum was lower ground centuries ago, and centuries of wash-out on this spot created a nice base of beach gravel. In an effort to reduce occasional fertilization applications I thought, why not start a compost application program and build up the resilience of these beds? Composting will not eliminate all of the additional compost tea, liquid seaweed, and other applications due to our special collections, but soil is the footing of all good gardens.

To get at that robust compost mine I asked CBJ Parks & Recreation staff to lend a few hands, and a few tools. They brought out a Bobcat with several lifting and scraping attachments, and a boisterous chipper. We cleared a path for the Bobcat to access the compost pile and the machine was used to lift off the larger green material from the top that had not decomposed. The big greens were piled up with recently removed tree trimmings and shredded together to make a nice rapid-reduction compost pile. Within two days the center of this pile was up to ninety-degrees! Eureka! That sparked the idea of big project #2, create a couple of small compost bins with repurposed pallets in a location that receives a bright ray of sun in the afternoon most of the year. With the help of FJOA, I’ll work on educational signage to install next year.

Watching the Bobcat make quick work of heavy chores; moving parking curbs, big logs, and loads that would normally take multiple wheel barrels, my intelligent, well-meaning, and number-one volunteer of a husband said, “hey, as long as the Bobcat is here, why don’t we clear the old path for a new one?” Why don’t we? Well for one it was the middle of summer, not a great time to work around the height of visitation. Secondly, yes it was on my to-do list, but not on this week’s to-do list! But I agreed with the opportunity it presented and we sent the bucket down the line of the old path from the driveway to the residence and shed. So much easier than hand digging!

I quickly worked on a design and schedule to purchase materials. The weather was working with us this summer, the project occurred during a warm spell at the end of July. I can’t say that I included this project #3 in the job description, but the garden staff this summer was not swayed. They each worked hard on clearing materials, one picking up the garden load as the other worked on stone. I re-purposed the old walkway stone into a nice path leading to the Primula display stand—that path was a shady damp area that was not supporting grass. I’d like to thank FJOA, a portion of materials were purchased with their funds and included in that I’d like to thank the Sons of Norway for a donation made earlier this summer. The remainder of materials were purchased through the CBJ JOA budget. I also owe a huge thanks to my number one volunteer, my husband Ken. If he had not been home on his rotation off work at the time, the path just might be a mud puddle considering the recent drenching rains.

Regular visitors might notice some other changes on the grounds, a few trees have been removed this year. The Arboretum, and other concerned plants-people in Alaska are working on removing what has become an invasive plant, the European Mountain Ash, Sorbus acuparia. I feel like everyone now realizes these trees have become bear attractants which have led to many closures of the Arboretum to mitigate bear-people interactions. Unfortunately, the bears’ and birds’ taste for the ash berries has spread them around the forest here, and on the coast around Pt. Caroline. Gardeners diligently pull up seedlings and saplings throughout the property and even return with handfuls from the Pt. Caroline Trail. This year we only had to close the ground early on one day due to a large black bear in a tree near the Rhododendrons.

There will be more of the ash removed this fall or winter, resources dependent, and all materials will be used on the property. It’s always hard to take down a tree, but in the horticulture world decisions have to be made, and for a public garden they are not taken lightly. Due to the invasive quality of the ash, and the wildlife hazards, removal of this tree species has been an ongoing program. Many parties are involved, from myself, to the CBJ Parks & Rec deputy director, to Parks & Landscape’s resident arborist. No mature tree comes down from the property without prior permission from SEAL Trust who holds the conservation easement which governs tree removal, among other policies. The tops will be shredded for more compost, branches for pathway mulch, and some logs for firewood. This year a new opportunity came to donate a few logs to a traditional bowl, canoe, and skin boat building class. I look forward to seeing those creations.

My first summer at JOA has been a whirlwind, and I am not talking about all the storms howling through the windows here. The primrose blossoms now seem so fleeting, the currant harvesting, the blue poppy blooms, weren’t they just there a few days ago? Though the katsura and Japanese maples begin to glow, there are still happy flowers standing up to fall: yellow corydalis, orange Illusion dahlias, gold sneezeweed, and pink turtlehead are a few. Many thanks to these long-lasting blooms and to the Friends that help keep the grounds fertile for these colors.

For more information on invasive species in Alaska, there is an Invasive Species Workshop November 3 – 5 organized by UAF Cooperative Extension invasive experts. The workshop covers everything from botanical pests, to marine life, to insects and more. I will be giving a short presentation on the historical use of Sorbus acuparia at JOA and Southeast and our control efforts. Visit the website https://uaf.edu/ces/invasives/conference/
If you want to plan ahead, thinking of next year’s garden season, I will be one of many speakers at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival in Seattle Feb 9 – 13, 2022, health safety allowing! More info to come. https://gardenshow.com

Ginger Hudson
JOA Manager
Top Left: Path redo in progress, Top Right: Completed path

Middle Left: Compost sifting, Middle Right: Compost bins

Bottom: Georgian Extra Hardy Garlic
Your FJOA Membership Matters!
Your membership truly does matter. Your financial contributions are crucial support for the programs and projects at the arb. Last year your membership contributions of more than $4000 enabled us to produce TWIGS, provide natural history programs, provide on-line plant sales to beautify local gardens, and support the docent program More importantly your membership inspires the FJOA board members to volunteer their time, talents and energy towards “caring for Caroline’s garden." We are so grateful to our members!

Fall is a great time to renew your membership or give a gift membership; memberships purchased in October through the end of the year will be current though 2022 . A gift membership is a wonderful way to introduce a friend to the arboretum. Purchase a membership here.

Be on the lookout for more opportunities to support the arb in the next TWIGS. Thanks again.

Pat Harris,
FJOA board member
Rosa alba ‘Maiden’s Blush’
Pictured below: Nasturtiam and Rozanne geranium.
Plan this year for fall color next year

With very little late-season labor we can have cheerful pops of color until hard frost with tender perennials. Smaller single flowers hold up best in Juneau's fall weather. Lighter/brighter colors show well against dark fall foliage, while dark purples/reds do not. Smaller dahlias start easily from seed or cuttings in late spring and should be prime by fall; Dwarf Unwins mix is a favorite, with Bishop's Children a close second. (Deadhead the old cone-shaped buds for best flowering; ball shapes have not yet flowered.) Trailing single begonias and fuchsias also hold up well. All of these can be overwintered as potted plants in a non-freezing area for easy spring revival (keep slightly moist). Snapdragons, nasturtiums, red cabbage, and ornamental kale are great fall annuals. Use true potting soil in well-drained pots and use flower fertilizer (higher P), upsize in a tucked-away area, rotate in as desired. Take a fall walk through Juneau's neighborhoods soon for more inspiration!

Susan Cable
FJOA and Juneau Gardening Club Member
Dahlia "Dwarf Unwin's" from seed 2021.
Left: Single hanging red begonia, Right: Fuchsia on double shepard's hook, Rozanne geranium below.
All four photos above provided by Susan Cable
Summer 2021 Docent Program by the numbers

12 trained docents
5 ad hoc volunteers
121.5 hours in the garden
26 days with coverage

A big thank you to our 2021 arboretum docents. The numbers show the dedication of the group. Our docents provided a friendly welcome, answered visitor questions of all varieties and were a reliable source of needed support for Ginger and her staff.

We are looking forward to next summer and building upon the lessons we learned this year. We hope for the return of each one who served this year and will welcome anyone who is looking for a way to become more involved at the Jensen-Olsen Arboretum.

Thank you again for a great summer. 

Numbers provided by Kim Garnero, Article by Mary Mathisen
FJOA board Members
Pictured below: Primula captitata a rare beauty at the arboretum
Raffle 2021

It’s that time of year and once again, due to pandemic restrictions we will have an on-line raffle.

Ginger Hudson asked that we raise money for a cover over the potting area. The area, just behind the garage and is now covered with three large patio umbrellas. Many plants have been transplanted this past summer, as we develop our on-line plant sale. The Friends board agreed to raise funds for this project. A volunteer has agreed to build the cover, for which we are very grateful.

The raffle focus is answering the question:
What do gardeners do when that aren’t gardening?

We have collected some fine prizes that include a Multi-day Pass from Eaglecrest. Art Sutch Photography has donated goods or services. Gourmet Alaska and Salon Cedar have generously donated as have Hearthside Books and Alaska Fly Fishing Goods.

Tickets go on-line in mid October.$10.00 a piece with the drawing for winners late December.

Look for announcements next month on Facebook and Instagram, as well as the radio and newspaper.

Pat White,
FJOA board President
Summer Plant Sales
What a way to pivot—as the common term goes—during the continuing pandemic. Since the garden groups decided together not to hold the famous May plant sale, FJOA supported efforts to make plant sales happen throughout the summer. Plans are already in motion to continue plant sales next summer!

Ginger Hudson
JOA Manager
The Lovely New Loo
The need for a new restroom at the Arboretum became the top priority for members and visitors in 2017. The FJOA board and Merrill Jensen developed a plan in 2018. We applied for grants, and had our first raffle to support this project. We raised nearly $30,000. The lovely New Loo was installed on April 3, 2021. Mayor Beth Weldon cut the ribbon, after a small ceremony highlighting the many volunteers and their efforts.

Ginger Hudson, newly hired manager made the suggestion to make the Loo lovely on the inside. Nell McConaghy, Pat Harris and Pat White decided to have a call to artists for proposals. There were five respondents and Larisa Manewal, from Sitka was chosen

Her banner mural is on a background of light yellow/green depicting the native plants of Southeast.
Thank you everyone for your efforts with this enhancement project for the arboretum

Pat White,
FJOA board President

Thank you to those who chose to support the Friends of Jensen-Olson Arboretum through Pick.Click.Give.

We appreciate your generosity.
~ Look for these highlights in the Winter issue of TWIGS 

*Raffle Update

*Article about Southeast Alaska Land Trust and the Arboretum

*Winter updates by FJOA President Pat White and Arboretum Manager Ginger Hudson
Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree in the evening sun. Beautiful fall colors.
        Mission Statement              
 The vision of the Arboretum is to provide the people of Juneau a place that both teaches and inspires learning in horticulture, natural sciences and landscaping - to preserve the beauty of the landscape for pure aesthetic enjoyment - to maintain the historical and cultural context of the place and its people.
                                                                                                                         Caroline Jensen 
    Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum Partners  

Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club
  Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum Board Members  
*Pat White, President *Mary Mathisen, Vice President *Kim Garnero, Treasurer *Lauren Smoker, Secretary
Members at Large: Michelle Duncan, Pat Harris, Sue Baxter
Ex-Officio Member: Ginger Hudson
Newsletter co-Editors: Michelle Duncan and Ginger Hudson
All photos captured by Ginger Hudson and Michelle Duncan unless specified otherwise.
TWIGS - a quarterly publication 
Spring/March ~~ Summer/June ~~ Autumn/September ~~ Winter/December

Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum
friendsjoa@gmail.com | friendsjoarboretum.org
Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
Contributions to FJOA are tax deductible.
Caring for Caroline's Garden
Jensen - Olson Arboretum
Physical: 23035 Glacier Hwy, Juneau, Alaska 99801    
Mailing: PO Box 33936 Juneau, AK 99803    Phone: 907.789.0139
Visitor Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 9am - 4:45pm, year round

Nationally Accredited Plant CollectionTM of the genus Primula