Jensen-Olson Arboretum celebrates Mother's Day

    This word garden at the Arboretum encourages visitors to arrange rocks engraved with Tlingit, Tagalog, Spanish and English words to create messages or poetry. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Jensen-Olson Arboretum held a Mother's Day celebration in the sun with live music and refreshments.

    The event was free, and it was noted it's the Arboretum's most popular day.

    Ginger Hudson is the manager of the Arboretum. She talked to News of the North about their festivities.

    "Today we are very fortunate to be hosting Mother's Day with the help of the Friends of the Jensen-Olson Arboretum. They brought refreshments and have asked Tom Locher to join us, so he will be playing music," she said. "He plays keyboard, and it's very wide-ranging, classical to light pop."

    The Arboretum is a City Park facility and admission is free. However, the Arboretum does offer memberships, Hudson said.

    "We do encourage memberships with the Friends of the Jensen-Olson Arboretum. The Friends help extend our budget when the city budget runs out and to help beautify the grounds," she said. "They also help organize all the family events and children's events. So membership in the Friends allows you to know earlier about events going on, whenever we have plant sales, and their fundraising helps keep the garden going."

    To learn more about the Friends and events, visit their website.

    Hudson also invited the community to visit their primulas.

    "We're famous, world-famous for our nationally recognized collection of the genus primula. This is primula bonanza time, May and June, a wide variety of spring primula are blooming," she said. "Now is the best variety of color to come visit."

    There is a special day just to celebrate the primulas on May 21, this upcoming Sunday. There will be a primula walk at 10 a.m., and they will be selling primulas and other perennials directly from the garden.

    Above: Primulas at the Arboretum. Below: Tom Locher plays music. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Hudson shared what else there is to look forward to this summer.

    "Look forward to family events, such as Bug Day coming up later in June, and our anniversary week is the last week of July. We'll have another plant sale then, and we'll have a picnic where all the garden clubs come and join us," she said. "Folks can rent time in the Arboretum for their weddings, and in June, we have a painting workshop coming up for adults."

    Another event coming up celebrates native plants in Alaska. Governor Dunleavy this year declared May Native Plant Month to honor all the benefits native plants provide to wildlife.

    On May 20, the Jensen-Olson Arboretum will have a native plant walk to learn more about the benefits.

    Hudson added how it felt to see the community come out for Mother's Day.

    "Of course, it feels wonderful, as the person who takes care of it, my seasonal gardeners and I put a lot of effort into keeping it beautiful, just to maintain the gardens as Caroline Jensen wanted," she said. "We're just so fortunate that the city does keep this open free to the public, Wednesday through Sunday, 9 to 5. For everyone to come out, either enjoy if they don't have their own garden, get ideas for their own gardens, or just sit down and relax. It's a really special botanical gem in Juneau, in the U.S."

    The Southeast Alaska Land Trust staff and board also attended the day to provide information about their work.

    The Southeast Alaska Land Trust helped the Arboretum go from private property to public property in 1998.

    Through a conservation easement with Southeast Alaska Land Trust, Caroline Jensen gifted her property to the City and Borough of Juneau to eventually become the Jensen-Olson Arboretum.

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