Every year in June (the 11th & 12th this year), the garden event of the year unfolds off of Tudor and Campbell Airstrip Road. Yes, I tapped that out with a straight face. Now Alaskan’s know that our gardening scene is a more subdued affair than a similar event in say, Seattle, Portland, Connecticut, England or any other big hotbed of horticulture. But though we are few, we are just as ready to spend our dough on plants, trinkets, and art for the garden.
Some of the art is, as art tends to be, subject to the viewer’s taste. Our city has a different bunch of artists decorate fiberglass salmon every year. They resulting “pieces” (I’m using arty language here) are then salted throughout Anchorage. The Botanical Garden got one last year, and as you can see above, the placement at a public garden was only natural. Besides the “high fahlutin’ art” for sale at the garden fair, there is quite a selection in the more modest “trinket” category, as seen below.
There are scads of well-known plant vendors/growers/nurserypersons lining the walkways and hawking choice selections. But don’t forget to stop by the ABG’s own plant nursery and gift shop. As a courtesy, they offer a plant holding area, much like babysitting for plants, only the babysitter’s are volunteers. I am proud to be a humble sitter of leafy greens for the past…well, more years than I care to say. It’s like shopping vicariously and none of the guilt at the end of the day. “Can you believe he bought that thing?” or “Where did you find that? You say it’s the last one?? Nooooo!” Well, something like that, anyway.
If you have all the plants you care to own (is there a gardener out there that can really say that?), enjoy the multitudinous offering of classes, presentations, and informational booths. There are even classes for the kids at the “Children’s Village.” And if music is your thing, imagine wandering through a delightful woodland with live music wafting through the trees. Now I realize some think music can’t waft, it can only drift, permeate, or float, but I’m hear to tell you it can indeed “waft.” I get a kick out of the bagpipers when they wander through. It’s like that flick Braveheart without all the blue paint and Mel Gibson.
Now, now, I know you’re freaking out at this point: “Where’s the food, woman? We can’t mill around without food.!” Simmer down, there is a very reputable food court that offers such tantalizing morsels as chocolate dipped ice cream bars covered in sugared pecans. (Pardon me as I dab up a spot of drool.) I also favor the reindeer sausages, but for those that frown on cooking up Santa’s fleet, the menus and cuisine run the whole gamut.
Those savvy ABG folk, they’ve thought of everything. Lots of portable toilets, so no mad dashes for the car on that account. Plenty of wagons to tote loads to the car. Oh wait, you’ll probably be riding a bus there, as the parking lot nearby is way too small. The shuttles run continuously, so if you have to wait, it won’t be for long. There are usually pickups at the Alaska Club and the Troopers parking lot. Check ABG’s website for more details.
Just remember to bring your umbrella, bug dope, sunglasses, camera, Uncle Ted, kitchen sink, and discretionary funds for the Alaska Botanical Garden’s annual Garden and Art Fair. And don’t forget to say hello to me and the plant sitting crew in the Plant Holding area from 9:30-12:30 on Saturday morning. Arrive early for the best selection (and smallest crowd).
Hours: Saturday-11-6, Sunday-11-5, members only preview Sat. 10am
Going to a garden fair this summer? Have all the plants you need? Favorite fair food?