In our own Backyard

Story last updated at 2:09 PM on Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gardeners' weekend: All about color, sustainability

In our own backyard

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo courtesy of Brenda Adams

Bob and Lynne Borland's garden is one of six included in the Homer Garden Club tour on Sunday.

For the sixth year, the Homer Garden Club invites the public to glimpse the gardening magic possible on the southern Kenai Peninsula. Gardeners' Weekend kicks off Saturday with two presentations by author and gardener C. Colston Burrell, includes a tour of six carefully selected gardens on Sunday, and ends with a reception at Bear Creek Winery also on Sunday, where participants can share the enthusiasm generated by the weekend's events.

"With more than 400 people attending the activities in 2011, 30 percent of whom were from out of the area, this is becoming a major attraction to Homer in summer," said Brenda Adams of the Homer Garden Club.

Sixth annual Gardeners' Weekend

Sponsored by Homer Garden Club


Presentations by C. Colston Burrell, plantsman, gardener, naturalist and author

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center

6 p.m.: "The Art of Perennial Combinations"

8 p.m.: "The Sustainable Garden: Magic of Myth"


11 a .m.-5 p.m.

Tour six local gardens:

• Daisy Delight, owners Bob and Lynne Borland;

• Orca Originals, owners Maryann and Genny Lyda;

• Bear Creek Bounty, owners Harry and Shirley Forquer;

• Collected from Afar, owners Teena and Pete Garay;

• Local Accomplishment, International Acclaim, owner South Peninsula Hospital, designer Brenda Adams;

• Eat Homegrown Groceries All Year, Jessica Ryan

5-6:30 p.m.

Reception at Bear Creek Winery, owners Bill and Dorothy Fry offer an opportunity for participants to share experiences and enthusiasm generated by the weekend's activities.


Tickets are $10 for each presentation.

Tour tickets are available now at the Homer Bookstore and the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, and are $10 for Homer Garden Club members, $15 for nonmembers, free for gardeners over 80. Tickets also will be available in the Homer City Hall parking lot from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

More info:

Call Brenda Adams, 235-3763, or Roni Overway, 226-3404.

Burrell, an acclaimed naturalist, garden designer and award-winning author, speaks at Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center twice Saturday. Perennial combinations are the focus of a talk at 6 p.m.

"This presentation stresses the use of color flowers and foliage to create season-long interest in beds and borders of all sizes, in sun and in shade," said Adams.

Sustainable gardens' impact on the environment and how gardeners can make a difference will be addressed by Burrell at 8 p.m.

"The presentation highlights sustainable practices within the framework of both formal and informal gardens and their relationship to larger regional systems," said Adams.

Burrell has been sharing his knowledge of plants and regional landscapes with audiences for 35 years. He has master's degrees in horticulture and landscape architecture. In 2008, Burrell received the Award of Distinction from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers for his promotion of sustainable gardening practices. His latest book, "Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide," co-authored with Judith Knott Tyler, received the 2007 American Horticultural Society Book Award.

"His writing reflects a love of plants, and he champions their use in artistically designed, environmentally friendly gardens," said Adams.

Sunday's tour "provides a variety of types of gardens filled with many novel features to spur the imagination as well as to show the range of possibilities for gardening in our northern latitude," said Adams.

• Daisy Delight: Bob and Lynne Borland use crisp white daisies to border the drive to their log home. China cup and saucer sets draw attention to raised stone beds filled with colorful perennial flowers and a teapot tree compliments the garden party theme. A large vegetable garden offers healthy table fare.

• Orca Originals: Maryann and Genny Lyda have combined metal sculpture by Moose Run Metalsmiths with bright flowers cascading from unconventional containers. Adams describes the combination as "breathtaking. ... Masterful craftsmanship melds with nature and creative plant design to forge a memorable and inspiring experience."

• Bear Creek Bounty: In 30 years, Harry and Shirley Forquer have brought together lilac, rhododendron, mountain ash and maple with local birch and spruce to provide color, privacy and wind protection. Attention to soil quality has produced star-quality vegetables, berries and perennials, as well as fruit trees, poppies and potatoes. Add to that the glacier view from this East End Road location.

• Collected from Afar: Teena and Pete Garay use wood, stone and whalebone to frame trees and shrubs native to China, Turkey and the Ural area. A steep south slope is populated with Alaska native plants, a vegetable garden and rare exotics. A cattle guard and walls keep the area safe from moose; visitors' arrivals are announced by a huge bell.

• Local Accomplishment, International Acclaim: This garden softens the concrete and asphalt entrance of South Peninsula Hospital. Visitors can enjoy the perennial garden's varied textures and colors that secured the garden international recognition. "Calm and serene, healing and uplifting" are how Adams, the garden's designer, describes her creation.

• Eat Homegrown Groceries all Year: Well-used small spaces that allow for year-round consumption and low maintenance, and high-yield gardening techniques make this a "must-see" stop. Guests will be treated to examples of sequential plantings, low tunnels, high hoops and raised garden beds. "Impressively mouthwatering," said Adams of owner Jessica Ryan's work.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at