Backyard

Gardeners Weekend explores challenging local climate

Homer gardens can be festive, or restive, refined, or wildly imaginative. Come July 29 and 30: Gardeners’ Weekend, sponsored by the Homer Garden Club, will celebrate the art of gardening in our sometimes challenging climate. The event will kick off with a keynote talk on Saturday followed on Sunday by open-gate tours of five uniquely charming gardens for your viewing pleasure. The tour will culminate in a reception on the lovely grounds of the Bear Creek Winery.

Take care of tools to take care of your garden

I have a new tool and I think I may be in love. It is a torch that I can use standing up to burn the plants growing in the stone pathway. I am finished, done, over, not ever again, weeding between these pieces of slate that we “harvested” along the highway near Hope. John called it “subsistence rocking” at the time. These rocks have broken off the main face and fallen into the ditch. Keep your eyes open if you are interested in creating a stone path. But, more important, get one of these torches first. They are locally available.

Time to tidepool

What happens rarely, features lots of red-and-green things and brings gifts? Nope — it’s not Christmas, but the big summer low tides. Since late April, a string of minus 4 foot tides have sucked the sea out, exposing rocks and tidepools and revealing sea stars, nudibranches, chitons, anemones and marine invertebrates. Naturalists put on their rubber boots, get out their identification charts and slosh out to sea.

Cranes and porcupines invade

Sandhill crane mayhem. There they are, flinging seedlings over their shoulders, digging potatoes and drilling them full of holes with their powerful beaks. All with the insouciance of a teenager. No amount of banging on pots and pans or shouting will divert their focus. Whew.

Shorebirds visit right on time

As if turning a switch, thousands of shorebirds arrived May 3, pushed north and west by a storm with winds up to 35 mph. Predictions that the peak of the migration would hit right during the 25th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival May 4-7 proved spot on, justifying a decision to move the festival up a week this year.

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