Quarterly Newsletter of
Friends of Jensen - Olson Arboretum
Summer Issue July 2021
Quarterly News and Updates
For your Summer reading enjoyment, this issue is bursting
with updates and stories...
Summer Updates from FJOA President, Pat White; Docent Training; A Reflection on Public Gardens; Recaps from this Summer's Family and Children's Programs; The Wonder of Blooms: An Article by JOA Manager, Ginger Hudson; and Information About a New Plaque at the Arboretum Honoring the Work of Merrill Jensen.
Summer Updates:
A Letter from Board President, Pat White
A fun calliope of Primula greeted visitors early in the summer.
Friends of the Arboretum:
Hello from Friends of the Jensen-Olson Arboretum and  welcome to the summer 2021 edition of TWIGS

Summer is in full swing and we are enjoying the constant change at the J-O Arboretum. Visiting frequently lets one see the change. Come often and experience the delights.

The Docent Program has been reinstated thanks to Kim Garnero and Mary Mathisen, Friends Board Members.

Bug Day is back! Thank you to Pat Harris and Sue Baxter Friends Board members for organizing this event.

The ongoing, on-line plant sale has been a great success, thanks to Michelle Duncan, a Friends Board member and the Ginger Hudson, the Manager.

The first annual Solstice Party on June 20th, saw a sold out crowd enjoying the music of Tom Locher, munching on a great tapas box supper, and staying dry under tents. Thank you to Mary Mathisen and Lauren Smoker, board members for their great organizing.

Merrill and Kelly Jensen, our former manager and dynamic team have completed the field guide. A labor of love for them, and a much anticipated addition to our visitor services.

Look for this guide in mid-July. We will be offering them for sale and as gifts to Life Members.

We appreciate all members and always welcome new friends.

If you haven’t renewed your membership now is a good time and consider renewal at a higher level. All memberships and donations go directly to projects that enhance the experience of the Arboretum. The Friends Board is all volunteer, with no administrative costs.

See you at the Arboretum.
Pat White
FJOA President
Are you a 2021 FJOA Member???
Visit our website to become a member
or to gift a membership today!
Taraxacum faroense, the rich red leaves of the Faroe Island dandelions show off against the flowers. JOA is one of only four public gardens growing this species. 
New Docents

After the pandemic year, docents are back at the arboretum. Twelve individuals have been trained and equipped with arboretum information on iPads. Our team is a mix of seasoned docents and new volunteers. Vests identify them as docents, so look for them on weekends and sunny days when visiting the garden this summer.

Mary Mathisen
FJOA Vice President

Docent photos taken by Pat White
Pictured below: Iris germanica "Gracchus'
The Importance of Public Gardens

When I have travelled, I have sought out public gardens and arboretums. I have had the good fortune of visiting public spaces in places like Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia and Madrid .

I gravitate to public spaces and I wonder why.

Whenever I visit a public garden, I experience the peacefulness within the beauty, the landscape designs and I learn something new.

Our Jensen-Olson arboretum is included in my list of wonderful public garden spaces. I find this place of natural beauty relaxing and unhurried. The ever-changing nature of the garden beds are the results of good design. Visiting frequently allows one to see the sequential changes.

And now, my visits will be enhanced by the new field guide.
We are very proud of this new addition to our visitor services. Look for the guide on sale in mid-July.

Thank you everyone for supporting the Jensen-Olson arboretum through your visits , memberships and donations.

Pat White
FJOA President
Do you know the name of this heirloom Iris? All we know from Caroline's notes is "old Caroline Iris" It is quite striking amidst a patch of English daisies. 
Family Programs:
Natural History Fun at the Arboretum 2021

This year FJOA offered two family events featuring animals and plants that share the arboretum with human visitors, Family Beach Exploration and BugDay! Family Beach Exploration on May 1st introduced visitors to the intriguing intertidal area in front of the arboretum at a -1.9’ low tide.

Kids collected and compared numbers of empty shells in the upper intertidal and found comparatively more butter clams than other shells.
In the lower intertidal we found ravens and crows excavating exposed sand for fish (probably sandlance), several kinds of sea stars and eggs of a large sea snail (Neptuna) being eaten by a six-armed seastar on the underside of a rock.

We also examined zooplankton with a microscope.

If they are interested in exploring on their own, visitors to the arboretum may borrow Discovery Southeast Guide to Intertidal Animals of Southeast Alaska; just ask the docent on duty.
On BUGDAY! July 3, families rotated through stations….everything buggy from insect hunting and identifying, butterfly metamorphosis, bug temporary tattoos, bug books courtesy of CBJ Library, to a flower treasure hunt. The giant bugs, Liza the ladybug and Clive the wooly bear caterpillar, made their annual appearance. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made BUGDAY! a success again this year!

Pat Harris
Former FJOA President
In the photo above: A young butterfly emerges from her chrysalis and gets her wings.
Family Beach day photos taken by Pat Harris and Ginger Hudson

BugDay! Photos by Pat Harris
The Wonder of Blooms:
An article by JOA Manager, Ginger Hudson

Gardeners wake up each morning to the wonder of blooms the day brings. Many gardeners know what to expect. Imagine moving into a new home flush with a mature landscape bursting with endless summer blooms, whimsical trees, a veggie garden, all surrounded by a healthy temperate rainforest ecosystem. Every day I am thankful that a succession of gardeners before me persevered through trials, wildlife folly, environmental forces, and construction headaches to create the landscape that became the Arboretum we know today.

A morning never goes by that I don’t remember I am here to steward this Arboretum, to carry it on for the next generation. As a horticulturist, I then see trials: Why is the ‘Midwinter Fire’ Cornus so puny? Wildlife folly: What the heck is destroying the lawn, from below and above? And, the environment: where did all this snow come from in March, and all this rain in May? After moments of botanical duress, moments of botanical excess appear: all the Primula! The big cherry tree! Waves of narcissus! Then the trough: a seasonal worker quits, the direct-seed veggies are taking sooo long to sprout. Then a buoy, the blue poppies! And another, the black iris! Public gardens endure challenges and celebrations as much as any home, container, or community gardener. In each case we have our supporters to lend a hand in the form of garden clubs, the master gardeners, and the Friends of Jensen-Olson Arboretum.

When the Friends learned an employee left early in the season, a call for volunteers helped fill the gap. That lawn degradation happened just about the time USFS entomologist Liz Graham visited JOA to discuss the sawfly infestation damage in nearby hemlocks. She helped sleuth out the crane fly larvae eating the grass roots, which answered my question of why the crows were tearing up the lawn. It’s the worst crane fly irruption in about a decade and has been noticed across Southeast. Interpretive signs have been posted to answer visitor’s questions–crane fly are beneficial insects all the way around.

In fact, most insects in gardens are beneficial. When crane fly larvae are deposited in water, they eat mosquito larvae, and the adult fly is eaten by fish and birds–and so too the mosquito. Bumble bees are one of the major beneficial insect families in Alaska responsible for pollinating countless plants. There are approximately twenty-three species of bumble bees in the state, found even in the arctic. Casey Burns, Wildlife and Threatened and Endangered Species Program lead for BLM Alaska, thinks it is possible that ten species of bumble bees can be found throughout the year at JOA! This year the Arboretum was invited to participate in a bumble bee identification program conducted by the BLM and the UAA Herbarium. There is a gap of knowledge about data on bee range and plants pollinated by bumble bees throughout Alaska. Here is a short list of plants observed since April at JOA with bumble bees on them: Petasites japonica, Primula sp., Dodecatheon sp., Myosotis sp., Geranium sp., Vaccinium alaskaense, Rubus parviflorus, Anemone nemorosa, Rhododendron ‘Ken Janek’, Polemonium sp., Clematis ‘Stolwijk Gold’. Look forward to stories on the bee identification process and a detailed list as the project wraps up next June.

Meanwhile, watch for plant offerings through the new online Plant Sale system developed this summer. Each plant is good for some type of pollinator whether a bumble bee, butterfly, sweat fly, or hummingbird. A benefit of offering plants all summer is the ability to divide large patches of perennials throughout the season. I hope plant seekers have had as much fun checking in to see what’s on offer each week as I and my garden assistant have had choosing which plants to thin out.

Traveling out to the Arboretum to collect plant purchases gives buyers opportunities to experience blooming surprises along with staff. There is also an increase in visitors enjoying the blooms now that travel restrictions are lifting. We are talking to folks from all over the country that are wowed by the primula varieties, Petasites, trollius, late daffodils, and of course the blue poppies–next up: Peonies! Despite the rain, the flowers carry on. With all the bumble bees buzzing about, there should be seeds to collect and share at the end of the season.

Hopefully FJOA’s family and children’s programs are sowing the seeds of botanical and scientific interest in the adults of the future. Parents and children connected with the ocean through the Intertidal Workshop for Families. BugDay!, always a favorite, was received enthusiastically after a year off. At least once a week I talk to a visitor to the gardens who says they live in Juneau and never knew JOA was here. I know the first annual Summer Solstice evening introduced JOA to a few new folks who either attended or heard our President Pat White promoting the event on the radio. Heavy snow in late March set daily records, and the rain in May came in a close second to the wettest recorded. Tally the snow, rain, and insect proliferation at the end of a pandemic, a re-worked plant sale, new public events, and I tend to think nothing is predictable anymore! Actually, that is what the climatologists are saying. But we will keep expecting great things of our gardens and appreciate the support offered along the way.

Ginger Hudson
JOA Manager
Honoring the work of Merrill Jensen
Visitors will notice a new recognition plaque in the garden honoring the work of Merrill Jensen, Arboretum Director from 2007 through 2020. Special thanks to the anonymous donor, a longtime Juneau resident and Arboretum visitor, who was inspired by his contributions and wanted to document the early history of leadership at the Arboretum for others to see. Thank you!

Kelly Jensen
Primula denticulata, white version of drumstick primula, one of the anchors of the primula show in spring.

~~~ SAVE the DATE ~~~

July 31: Garden Organizations Picnic 5:30-7:30pm

6pm every Wednesday: Online Plant Sales
Throughout Summer

2021 Fall Raffle, Tickets on Sale Oct.

Stay tuned for details in your email Inbox as we set annual event schedules based on safety measures related to COVID.

Red Tulip

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 Autumn issue of TWIGS 

*Summer Bloom Photos

*Summer wrap-up and review

*Raffle discussion
Colorful umbrellas and jackets brighten a rainy 2021 Solstice Party
        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/July ~~ 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