Marion Owen Alaska

Is it bear or bears? And how to grow a Christmas cactus

I live on Kodiak, the second-largest island in the U.S. Did you know that it’s mostly a wildlife refuge for coastal brown bears? What does that have to do with Christmas cactus? First of all, Merriam-Webster set me straight. Again. Because the plural of cactus

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Dinosaurs and tomatoes: How climate change growls at Alaska gardeners

The first hard frost of the winter sparked a beehive of activity in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska. Time to change tires, harvest carrots, can salmon, and well, booking vacations to

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Equinox explained. And you need this cool, “daylight-darkness” chart for your fridge

To my chop-wood, carry-water friend Mary, the equinox means one thing: Time to dig the ashes out of the woodstove. For the rest of us, let’s dive into a little

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Whale Ahoy! Plus the #1 Essential Tip for Your Summer Garden

What do whales and your summer garden have in common? I’ll share a tip that has solved many a garden problem. But let’s begin with a story: One morning, we departed the Kodiak boat harbor on our boat. As luck would have it,

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What Dr. Seuss and Beethoven can teach you about Mother Nature

Who is Mother Nature? Is she a beautiful goddess draped in a fern dress? Or an old hag that stirs up violent tornadoes? Hold on to your mossy hat. You’re about to learn

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Why this gardener loves Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming

During World War I President Woodrow Wilson asked Americans to plant vegetable gardens “to ward off the possible threat of food shortages.” By 1943, victory gardens supplied an amazing 40 percent

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My podcast story: I want to be open to the gifts

On a beautiful fall day, podcaster Catherine Praiswater stopped by the garden to ask me about the birds and the bees. Eagles and bumblebees, actually. She adjusted

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Want a dream garden? How to order seeds the easy way

In 1988 I decided to grow a few vegetables. Problem was, I’d never grown more than a sunflower in a milk carton. So it was no surprise when 50 years later, I was totally overwhelmed

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How does snow help and harm plants?

It’s snowing. Big fluffy flakes. You start to worry that your shrubs and winter flowering plants might suffer. The good news: Snow benefits plants. But it can also spell trouble. Here’s a

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