March 29, 2012 | Vol. 42, No. 13

Conference rejuvenated gardeners

The garden conference was a success, bringing together speakers and gardeners in Haines March 16-18. Enthusiasm for learning about past and present agriculture and gardening in the Chilkat Valley and neighboring Skagway was shared.

Bob Henderson’s talk Friday evening was attended by 55 people, impressed with his knowledge, research and personal history. The Chilkat Valley Historical Society has a videotaped copy of his talk.

Nearly 50 participated in Saturday’s talks and workshops, sharing experiences, and asking questions. Alaska Cooperative Extension speakers Darren Snyder and Jeff Smeenk were well received. Skagway neighbor and businesswoman Charlotte Jewell and her photos of early gardens impressed many, along with her knowledge of edible flowers and herbs. George Campbell helped people plan their yards and avoid mistakes. Rob Goldberg shared challenges and successes of fruit growing in Haines. James David Sneed helped interpret seed catalogs and packets and led the discussion of food politics.

I enjoyed talking about potatoes and garlic and answering questions from the winter-weary crowd. I think we all came away rejuvenated and ready for spring!

Thanks to the American Bald Eagle Foundation for accommodating us at short notice.

Please thank the sponsors who helped make this event possible: Haines Home Building Supply, Bigfoot Auto, The Babbling Book, Canal Marine, Miles Furniture Warehouse, Jewell Gardens, Little Diggers and Landscaping, Ed’s Edible Landscaping, 18 Mile Aerodrome B&B, Juneau Garden Club and Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners.

Thanks also to the people of Haines who welcomed us. Who will organize the second garden conference?