Monday, July 29, 2013

Garden Tour, Lavatera, Spenard, and Corn

Sunday was the Anchorage Garden Club's Annual City Garden Tour.  This is always a delightful affair, a chance to discover hidden neighborhoods, and  wander through people's gardens, ask questions, and dream about the possibilities of your own garden. 

[NOTE:  Click to enlarge and sharpen any photo.]

The first garden we saw was in the heart of Spenard.  I have to give the Garden Club credit.  Snootier clubs would have never chosen this garden.  But it was the quintessential Spenard garden - flowers and junk.  A plastic flamingo and a bald eagle on top of a metal flag pole.   Of course, junk is a subjective term.  But how many garden clubs do you think would include a garden that had this next to the driveway?

But this is so Spenard.

Since four of the five gardens (seemed a low number this year) were close to Turnagain Road, we biked over there in the beautiful, warm sunshine.

This was the back yard of one of the Turnagain gardens.  They had bright pink flowers that looked something like hibiscus and I learned they were lavatera.

Here's more detail from

"Lavatera is a genus within the family Malvaceae, which also includes, inter alia, Althaea, Abutilon, Gossypium, Hibiscus, Malva and Sidalcea, and is particularly close to Malva. The 20-25 species of Lavatera have a broadly Mediterranean distribution, stretching to southwest Britain, the Canary Is., Abyssinia, Central Asia and Kashmir, with outlying species in Australia (Lavatera plebeia), California (Lavatera assurgentiflora, Lavatera insularis, Lavatera lindsayi, Lavatera occidentalis and Lavatera venosa), and eastern Siberia.

Lavateras are annual, biennial or short-lived perennial herbs and sub-shrubs. The flowers are pink to purple, or white, or yellow in some forms of Lavatera triloba. The stems and foliage are typically downy or hairy. The fruits consist of a divided capsule containing a ring of nutlets."

This window box of flowers nearby was probably my favorite spot on the tour.  It just worked beautifully.  

The last house was near the Coastal trail, which we got off at Arctic to find some dinner.  


These corn plants were growing in the two inch crack between the asphalt and the building.  Corn is usually iffy in Anchorage, but this is an exceptionally warm summer and this south facing wall is probably five or ten degrees warmer yet.  There were a few big ears getting close to ripe.   This wasn't part of the garden tour, but it should have been.

There was one more garden on the tour, but it was in South Anchorage and we started late. 

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