Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shameless promotion: in Alaska this weekend??

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. 

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ABG Garden Fair 039Some 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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? 


  1. ahh, I was a plant babysitter for a number of years too. So much fun to see what other people buy. One year a lady dropped over $100 for a double flowered trillium. All the volunteers had to stop and gape at that plant. (and the price tag!) Have a great time at the sale.

  2. There is something about an entire fleet of empty parked Radio Flyers that just makes me want to fill them up with pots and plants and shrub containers!

  3. Entertaining as always Christine. I am betting this will be a blast. Wish I could fly in. I enlarged the plant image to see what you have for sale. Not so different from here. We even have those weird metal animals too, but no big grizzlies.

  4. Cool garden art! I love the gate and the ball. Excellent stuff. You are a great person for volunteering to plant sit. I don't think I could sid still that long. My dream is to someday have a blue poppy. Thanks for taking me to your show.

  5. I love the art. The gate and the ball are my favorites. The fish is cool also. Looks like a fun time. I'm impressed you volunteer to watch the plants. I'm not that patient. My goal is to someday grow a blue poppy. Thanks for the tour. I enjoyed it.

  6. Have all the plants you need? Ha, ha, ha, ha. I got a chuckle out of that one. Besides, it's not about "need" anyway, true? :)

    This sounds like a fun event. I hope you can get some photos.

    The Master Gardener garden tour is later this month. I'm hoping for sunshine.

  7. Nothing wrong with a shameless plug, if I was in the area I would definitely stop by! I was thinking about gardening in Alaska yesterday, while looking at my teeny tiny pitiful meconopsis plants. I think my chances of having the glorious blue blooms is slim to none, so thank you for including a picture! :)

  8. I will probably see you there on Saturday -- my husband will have two sculptural pieces at the gala tonight!

  9. Rent a Can. LOL! I like that name better than our Port-a-potty. LOL! I really love the first gate planter. Just beautiful. And the glass feeders or baths are gorgeous. So much fun. I love seeing all of the ideas that show up at these events.

  10. @MargueriteAh, a fellow plant sitter! I've never witnessed a $100 drop for a mere perennial though. Good grief.

    I quite liked that grouping of wagons...strangely enough no one else was taking their picture but me.,
    The blue poppies seem to go quick, also the peonies and roses, pretty much anything in bloom.

    @birds, bees, berries, and blooms,
    I may plantsit, but I rarely have the opportunity to actually "sit" as there are rarely chairs and frequently customers. Drat!

    Oh,are you on the tour? Best of luck lady,and even if it rains, if you have refreshments, all will be a success.

    @Rebecca@In the Garden,
    I've heard from a grower they love being in almost straight peat, if you have any lying around, that is....

    @Orion Designs,
    That would be in the "high fahlutin' art" category. I'll snoop around the art show and see if I can discover them.

    Well, this must be a first: Alaskans having a posher sounding name for something. Did it have to be for a toilet?


  11. Looks and sounds like a great event! Those blue poppies make me drool. I desperately wish those things could take a bit more heat so we could have them around here...

  12. @College Gardener,
    Don't feel bad, I kill off blue poppies with regularity. I am taking a Meconopsis sabbatical at the moment to spare my purse.



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