Marion Owen Alaska

My New Year’s resolutions after a health crisis renews my love affair with plants

Zion, National, Park, Utah, sunshine, hiking
Marty pauses in the morning light. (Zion National Park, Utah)

In October 2015 my husband experienced a mini-stroke. We were traveling in our motorhome at the time, camped near Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. While Marty’s 5-minute episode didn’t leave any outward signs of damage,

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From whales to plants, mid-summer feeding is a must

After shutting down the boat engine we leaned against the railing to watch two humpback whales feed close to the surface. Winding slowly through the kelp bed, they created small whirlpools with their pectoral fins and tails, like a

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Libby’s Story: Fighting Cancer with Food (and a sweet recipe for moose nuggets)

When Libby McClaren was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor recommended immediate surgery to remove the tumor from her bladder, followed by chemo and radiation treatments. Libby doesn’t recall how she reacted but she needed quiet time.

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Not a gardener? These 12 New Year’s resolutions are meant for you, too.

If you’re like me, you need a goal—even a tiny one—or you might end up like a lost duck, waddling along the lake shore, but never getting into the water. Today I’m sharing a dozen resolutions, mostly slanted for gardeners. But if you’ve never used a trowel,

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Rock stars of organic farming chew the fat about our food

carrots, garden, harvest, organic
Don’t worry, eat carrots! These were grown in our seaside garden. All organic, using kelp (seaweed), leaves, compost, volcanic ash, cow manure and lots more.

In Kodiak, Alaska, I’m an organic gardening geek. I teach the stuff through the University of Alaska and write about weeds, seeds and the beauty of kelp in my weekly newspaper column.
My husband and I grow a lot on our ‘postage stamp’ property. In the summer, it’s mostly greens, herbs and edible flowers

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To the North Pole with 16,000 pounds of flour

When Robert E. Peary prepared for his final attempt to reach the North Pole in 1909, his provisions included an astounding list of supplies:

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Getting a Fresh Start: A gardener’s dozen of New Year’s resolutions

Carrots, garden, organic, Alaska, Kodiak Island, agriculture, macro, close-up, gardening, how to, tipsThe end of the year is the time that most of us associate with turning over a new leaf, making plans, and evaluating. Taking it one step further is territory where resolutions and goals follow. Hmm, I’ve learned (often the hard way) that if you don’t have a goal to shoot for, you’re more likely to miss the target.
“Honey, if you don’t try,” Mom would tell me, “the answer is always no.” So here goes…
1) To spend as much time in the garden as I do reading, writing and talking about it.
2) To donate more vegetables to the local food bank.
3) To grow something new from seed. For instant inspiration, head over to Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Fedco Seeds.
4) To introduce at least one person to gardening. Getting your hands in the dirt is a good habit to develop in 2012.
5) To plant more flowers for bees and other beneficial insects.
6) To sniff more flowers with my nose and camera lens.
7) To try at least one natural pest control that I’ve never used.
8) To have more faith in plants. “Plants want to survive and live,” reminds Amy Pennington, author of Apartment Gardening. “They will go to great lengths to make sure their genetic strain lives on. They don’t need constant monitoring—they just need a helper.”
9) To take better care of my indoor plants. It’s the least I can do for those who brighten my interiorscape.
10) To learn the names of (and photograph) more local wildflowers. Mid-June to mid-July is the best time to get out and botanize around Kodiak island. Once you’ve hung around wildflowers for a while, your garden varieties seem, well, tame.
11) To set the timer when I head outside to do some weeding. It’s easy to get distracted with all that cries for attention.
12) To learn or improve on some garden techniques like pruning, composting, or grafting.
13) To keep the wonder of plants, flowers, and nature in my heart, realizing, as the saying goes: “I am not the doer; I am a mere instrument in His hand.”
With blessings, here’s to a glorious year!
Marion Owen, photographer, organic gardener, Kodiak Island, Alaska
More resources you might enjoy:
You can find dozens of articles, tips, recipes and essays by Marion on her original PlanTea.com website.
To enjoy more of Marion’s photographs (or to order canvas prints, mouse pads–you name it–using Marion’s photographs), please visit www.MarionOwenPhotography.com.

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