Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners to offer ‘Practical Landscaping for Southeast Alaska’ classes

Planning Your Garden (1)

Practical Landscaping for Southeast Alaska is a series presented by the SEAK Master Gardeners Association, in collaboration with the Juneau Public Library, and is an opportunity to look at the practical aspects of design as well as providing a chance to explore creative possibilities of your own, unique garden.

These classes are offered in person at the Mendenhall Valley Library in Juneau, and virtually. We would love to see you in person but realize not everyone can make it. Zoom will be available to those that register HERE and fill out this brief form.

February 16th 5:45-7:45pm
Landscape Design Considerations
This session will focus on the practical considerations for landscape design. Examine how and where sun enters your yard in different locations, wind direction and ferocity, where water settles in your yard, what features are already there to be incorporated into the design.

Merrill Jensen is a horticulturist who became first manager of the Jensen-Olsen Arboretum in 2007. While there, he succeeded in getting national collection status for the largest documented collection of primula, primroses in North America – an outstanding feat. He also as created the garden design and flow.

When Your Yard is a Swamp: Drainage Solutions When You Have Too Much Water
This session explores various options for those areas in your yard that can’t compete with two weeks of record-breaking rain and for those areas that seem to bog down from our typical weather. Explore options and perspectives from our experienced panel.

Ed Buyarski has been gardening in the rain in Southeast Alaska since 1983. He has gardened in Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Juneau, and Haines. 2022 was a record breaker with 105 measured inches at his place near Tee Harbor. Still, good crops were harvested of garlic, potatoes, beets, carrots and much more. Thanks to plenty of compost, a lot of timely rain, some sun, and using plenty of plastic to warm the soil and plants harvest happens. Hoop houses also allowed him to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and even some corn. Lots of primroses and other perennial flowers also brighten up his gardens. Promotion of lawn reduction and more food production here is his religion and you can often hear him preaching on KFSK and KTOO during the gardening season as well as in classes and workshops sponsored by the Master Gardeners and University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

Danielle Brown-Farrell, MG class of 2016. Dani is the owner of Sunny Slope Organic Farm, which runs a successful community supported agriculture (CSA) in the growing season, sells both perennials and annuals in the spring, and provides landscaping expertise.

George Campbell is the owner of Little Diggers and Landscaping, LLC. George has been providing expertise in landscaping since 2017 utilizing heavy equipment.

March 16th, 5:45-7:45pm
Color as a Design Element in the Landscape
Color draws us into gardens more than any other element, well maybe besides berries, birds, or for a rest. Is that your objective–to use more color? Gardeners sometimes think only of flower color in their garden. Yet, many other features of plants can be drawn upon for color. Objects and structures also can be used as bold anchors or features to build on or around a landscape. Ginger will present inspirational ways to mix or think about color as you build, renovate, or invigorate your garden’s evolution.

Ginger Hudson is the current manager of the Jensen-Olson Arboretum, a CBJ Parks & Rec facility. She came to Juneau from Anchorage where she worked for the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage as the Special Horticulture Projects Manager. Ginger has operated her own landscape design business in addition to teaching design and maintenance. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, a Bachelor of Environmental Design, and is an Advanced Master Gardener. Join Ginger and her staff in Juneau at JOA this summer where she is delighted to lead native plant walks, Primula tours, and public garden tours.

Building the Bones of a Landscape; Pathways, Rocks, and Patterns
Landscaping is a language; it shows us how to manage ourselves in the world. Choosing the plants is the very last stage of landscape design, long before picking the color of the Rhododendrons, dealing with the mechanics of the site drives the design considerations. Activities and lifestyle demands are addressed by access and transport considerations. In an illuminating session, Margaret will illustrate some of the principles and methods for creating, or remodeling a landscape that functions well for the purposes desired by the users, and able to be managed over time as the garden matures.

Margaret Tharp and David Lendrum, Landscape Alaska, shared that when they came to Juneau there were not even lawns in the valley, they started in their front yard in Lemon Creek and built nurseries in several parts of the community. Margaret graduated with a master’s in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and was given a standing ovation for developing a salvage and reuse method for the native understory. She has designed much of our public and private landscape in her practice, including Thunder Mountain High School, the Alaska Capitol, Mendenhall Library, Ethel Lund SEARHC clinic, Treadwell Historic Park, and the residences of Ginger Johnson, Christine Zack and Jo Pegues. The only “1 Percent for Art” ever awarded for Landscape Architecture was her design for the Juneau Police Station. David is a lifelong “Hort”, with many positions including Juneau’s initial Arboretum, Soil and Water Conservation, and Landscape

April 20th, 5:45-7:45pm
The Secret Garden: The Power of Garden Rooms
This session explores the power of creating special spaces within the larger garden that allow themes, whimsy, and the pure delight of the unexpected. Find out how Garden Art, Whimsy, Themes and so much more can become a captivating and welcome addition to your landscape. Explore different types of themes and take your space from the average garden to the wow factor of your garden design. Learn about visual impact and sensory awareness using sight, sound, and smell. Learn the steps to discover your own secret garden.

Pat Hartman has spent the last 40 years planning, replanning, and growing ornamental plants, vegetable gardens and Garden Railroads throughout the Western United States. Her current garden contains various Garden Rooms which include meditation, whimsy, theme areas and spectacular views. In 2012 Pat completed the Alaska Master Gardener Class. Pat is a plant aficionado, world traveler, Garden Railroad geek, and active member of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners Organization serving as Web Manager. She currently serves as the American Primrose Society President and Chairs the ICRA for Primula committee. She incorporates Primula into her Garden Rooms that she has grown from seed, purchased, or shared from friends.

Water Features: Because Sometimes Living in a Rainforest isn’t Wet Enough
This session will explore fountains, waterfalls, ponds that have been found on the Juneau Master Garden Tour. Look at what our neighbors have done to enhance their space through their garden’s water features.

Registration link for all programs in this series:

If you have questions, please contact committee chairperson Corinne Conlon at