Living in drought-ridden California, I had forgotten what rain is. But last Friday I got a reacquainted with the wet stuff that occasionally falls from the sky when I dragged my cousin Shannon to the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage. Born and raised in Alaska, Shannon had never been there and was happy to finally get a chance to see it.
Where else do you have a moose fence?
Even though it wasn’t raining constantly—it was more of a fine drizzle—there were only two other visitors at the garden. That was completely fine by me since I didn’t have to wait for people to move out my picture.
As you can see below, most flowers were gone but many trees and shrubs were at their fall best. I hadn’t expected to find such brilliant colors and I was giddy with the photo ops that presented themselves all around me. I would love to go back to the Alaska Botanical Garden in June when the wildflowers are in bloom—and their surprisingly large collection of Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis sp.)—but now for I’m thrilled I was able to take so many beautiful fall pictures.
This is the first botanical garden I’ve visited where I was told be “bear aware”
The dying fern against the black rock made for a striking image
Possibly the most photogenic cabbage I’ve ever seen
I couldn’t get enough of views like this one
Leaf-covered path bordered by a hand-made willow fence
Moss-covered glacial erratic
Variegated meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Variegata’)
What’s left of summer
Impossibly photogenic kale and cabbage
It isn’t much, but it’s the only succulent I saw
I was surprised to find fruit on this Evans sour cherry (Prunus cerasus ‘Evans’)
More remnants of summer
I’ll admit, I couldn’t get enough of these fall tapestries
Lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.)
Foliage of one of the rare Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis × sheldonii)
Alpine Rock Garden
Alpine Rock Garden
Delicate plantings in a hypertufa trough
Forest views galore!
I might make myself a print of this photo and hang it on the wall
Entrance to the Herb Garden
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
Tricolor sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’)
Red-vein sorrel (Rumex sanguineus)
Entrance to Lile’s Garden
Gabions, another unexpected fine
It’s rare seeing a bench in such a contemporary style
Crapapple (Malus sp.)
Highbush cranberry (Virburnum edule)
I have no idea what these striking blue-purple flowers are. Any guesses?
‘Elegance Salmon Rose’ sweetpeas
Blue curled Scotch kale
Anchorage Heritage Garden. The bed of this blue Chevy truck was filled with vegetables.
NOID mushroom. Looks dangerous to me!
Plant sale area
Hosta’ Empress Wu’, one of the largest hosta cultivars ever created. If I lived in the right climate, I’d have several of these!
The idea of a botanical garden in Anchorage was born in 1983 but it took another ten years before it opened its doors to the public on July 25, 1993. Today the Alaska Botanical Garden occupies 110 acres of land leased from the Municipality of Alaska. Most of the land is boreal forest in its natural state, with trails connecting a series of cultivated gardens that include two hardy perennial gardens (Lile’s Garden and the Lower Perennial Garden), an Herb Garden, an Alpine Rock Garden, an Entry Shade Garden, an Alaskan Kitchen Garden, and a new Anchorage Heritage Garden.
Unfortunately, most of the gardens weren’t at their best at this time of year. To see what they look like at the height of summer, check out this comprehensive three-part article on Peter Herpst’s blog Outlaw Gardener: 1 2 3. There even are photos of the Himalayan blue poppies I’ve recently become enamored with!
In closing, I’d like to thank the anonymous germ donor who so generously gave me their cold virus on one of the flights I took last week. I won’t forget you!