Quarterly Newsletter of
Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum
Spring Issue March 2019
Quarterly News and Updates
In this issue: Lovely Loo planning, unifying garden elements, and new ways to support the Arboretum while you shop...
Membership Renewal Season - have you placed
your membership for 2019???
Now is a great time to do so...see our website to renew today!
Tying it all together
My landscape design professor always stressed that there should be unifying elements in a garden; there should be something, whether it be plants or hardscape, that unifies the landscape. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen some spectacular examples of this and some equally bad ones as well. One of the notable fails (I won’t name the garden) is a collection of different sub-gardens designed by different landscape professionals. The garden was divided up among the various parties and designs were conceived. Unfortunately, the different design firms never communicated with one another and the series of resulting gardens doesn’t have any unifying element other than the asphalt road that winds through them. When one strolls this particular public garden, one comes away wondering why there wasn’t an overarching design strategy to unify it.

When I began my job here at the Arboretum, there was a lot of work done the first year to simply get the grounds back into shape after they had languished during Caroline’s later years when she was physically unable to keep up with all the work. In reclaiming several spaces, I noticed a series of rock walls that helped define some of the existing beds. In 2007 when I removed one of the old overgrown beds in front of the residence, I pondered what to install in its place. After a hike in the high alpine above Juneau and seeing the magnificent natural rock gardens, I had my inspiration. To make this new bed look the way I wanted it required that my first seasonal gardener and I work to build a low, rock retaining wall defining the bed space. Over the ensuing years when new beds have been constructed, low, rock walls have been part of the design scheme. With the construction of the new entry plaza bed last fall, there are now 16 beds that contain low rock walls throughout the Arboretum. 

One of our most frequent visitors noted the presence of rock walls on one particular spring afternoon, and remarked that it is nice to see a unifying design element that tied all our beds together. She also noted that it was a subtle effect and that it had taken her a couple of years to notice it. I think that my professor would be pleased - lessons learned; lessons applied. Come and enjoy the rocks even as you seek out the flowers.
Merrill Jensen
The Lovely Loo...site planning begins!
You spoke and we listened! As most of our readers know, Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum has embarked on a capital campaign to purchase and install a permanent restroom at the Arboretum - with your donations and commitment to the project, we are on our way!

Early this year, Lance Mearig offered to serve as Project Director committing significant time and energy to launching the site planning process and seeing it through to completion. This week he was on-site to meet with Merrill and begin planning. Again, many thanks to Lance for his willingness to lead the effort and to the many Friends who have donated dollars and time to make this project possible. Look for an update in the Summer issue of TWIGS...maybe even installation photos!

Many, many thanks, Lance!
Renovating The Alpine Bed
Alpine Bed installation, 2007
Creating an Alpine Bed was the first project I considered after arriving at the Arboretum. In 2007, this bed area was occupied by scraggly, overgrown bridalwreath spirea ( Spiraea prunifolia) and a lot of grass. I decided it would be best to remove all existing plant material and start with a blank canvas. While wondering what the new bed might be, I was hiking in the alpine on Mt Roberts. I thoroughly enjoy strolling among the natural rock gardens that are along the trail to the summit. While observing these unique gardens, I thought that might be a good idea for our soon-to-be vacant bed. All that would be necessary would be to gather the flat rock to construct the wall that would form the basis of our rock garden. I collected rock from construction sites and rock slides along the side of the road and started building the wall. New soil was added and natural rock formations were installed. 

Next, I needed to secure the appropriate permits and begin collecting alpine material for the plantings. Over the ensuing years most of the plantings did well, while others resented the move to sea level and the associated lack of reliable winter snow cover to protect them from frigid temperatures. In just a few short years, fern spores from the surrounding forest blew into the bed, germinated and started growing. Initially, I thought “Great! Free plants…” until more and more ferns became established and crowded out the desirable (and hard-earned) alpine plants. In the summer of 2017, the Alpine Bed consisted of more ferns than alpine plants and it was time for a large-scale renovation. As gardeners know, plantings are dynamic features and are constantly changing; this bed finally reached the point of a needed change. Over the course of the 2018 growing season, ferns were transplanted to other areas of the Arboretum. Collecting trips to the alpine were scheduled and new material was installed. I removed the bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) that had excelled in the shade created by the ferns, and then added a new layer of gravel mulch replicating the alpine, scree-like conditions. 

The ongoing challenge is finding and collecting alpine plants that will tolerate and thrive for (sometimes) months without winter snow cover. One of my biggest disappointments is our native primrose; Primula cuneifolia ssp. saxifragifolia. This is one of those plants that just won’t live at sea level. After numerous attempts to transplant specimens and also trying to grow them from seed have failed, I’m content to visit them in the high country. Be sure to see the difference when you visit this year and look for new additions to the alpine collection over the next couple years.
Merrill Jensen
Support Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum while you shop...

You may remember that FJOA, in December, joined AmazonSmile creating an opportunity for you to support the Arboretum while you shop. Well, we've done it again!

Just in time for your Spring shopping, we are pleased to announce that
FJOA has joined Fred Meyer Community Rewards program.

To enroll, go to fredmeyer.com
On the Home page, scroll to Community, click on Fred Meyer Community Rewards, then in the 2 nd paragraph, click Link your Rewards Card. Once logged into your Fred Meyer Rewards account you can search for Friends of Jensen-Olson Arboretum either by name or number KW604, and then click Enroll.

If you do not have a Fred Meyer Rewards card, you can obtain one at the local store’s service desk. Then to link to the rewards program, you will need to create an account on Fred’s website and follow the steps above.

This completes your enrollment and begins your donations!

You will still earn FM rewards points for your purchases.

Happy shopping and THANK YOU for your support!
~ Look for these highlights in the Summer issue of TWIGS ~
* Feeding the plants by feeding the soil: compost tea * A unique garden visitor
*Arboretum 2019 Calendar of Events...look for it later this month...

Ready to set up your 2019 Annual Membership?
Visit our website to renew today!
Arboretum Wish List

Thank you for asking, and for considering a donation. We appreciate it!
Donations may be dropped off during visitor hours at the Arboretum with a staff member.
* Don Abel gift card (any amount) - where we purchase a specific type of compost
* Glacier Gardens gift card (any amount) - where we purchase some of our plant material

         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 Garden Club

Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club
   Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum Board Members  
*Pat Harris, President *Morgan Humphreys Davis, Vice President *Kim Garnero, Treasurer 
Members at Large: Chiska Derr, Pat Hartman, Mary Mathisen, Pat White
Ex-Officio Member: Merrill Jensen
Newsletter Editor: Kelly Jensen
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
23035 Glacier Hwy       Juneau, Alaska 99801    907.789.0139
Visitor Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 9am - 4:45pm, year round

Nationally Accredited Plant Collection TM of the genus Primula
Merrill Jensen, BS Ornamental Horticulture
Arboretum Manager and Horticulturist