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"Enhancing the beauty and value of plant material through education, preservation,   
recreation, and research . . . From delicate orchids, native plants, and fungi to
spawning salmon, mammals, and birds, the Alaska Botanical Garden is an
important slice of preserved Boreal Forest ecosystem on the edge of
Alaska's largest city. The ABG nature trails are a great place to walk, hike,
"botanize," bird-watch, snowshoe, ski, or simply appreciate nature year-round."
~ from the Alaska Botanical Garden brochure and website
The Alaska Botanical Garden (ABG) is a non-profit organization that opened to the public in 1993. It is funded by entrance fees, memberships, donations, program fees, and retail sales from a shop located near the entrance to the garden:


Cute little retail Shop In the Garden

ABG occupies about 110 acres on Campbell Airstrip Road between the Far North Bicentennial Park and Benny Benson School in the eastern part of Anchorage. The site was once occupied by Native Dena'ina Athabascan people. In the 1940s and '50s it was used for maneuvers and training by the U.S. Army.

The master plan for the garden specifies that most of the land will remain in a natural state, with individual gardens interconnected by woodchip trails through the birch and spruce boreal forest:

I couldn't find a map of the gardens online so I copied this diagram from the brochure I got upon entry:

The longer Lowenfels Family Nature Trail extends beyond that map.

The main garden trails were originally part of the "Bull Dog Trail" network extending from Fort Richardson to the Campbell Army Air Corps Airfield. They were used by jeeps and tanks during military training. Old foxholes dot the grounds, and an ancient glacial erratic (i.e., huge boulder) adds further interest to the gardens.

Herb garden

The Alaska Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to visit in the spring/summer months and is probably also very attractive in the fall when the leaves turn colors.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in the garden this morning and want to go back another time to walk the Lowenfels Family Nature Trail, a 1.1-mile path down to Campbell Creek, to watch salmon spawn. Different flowers bloom in different months, too, so if I come back again in August I might see some things I didn't see today.

It was very relaxing to wander through the forest to the various themed gardens. You can read more about them on the ABG website. The garden features over 1,100 hardy perennials in several areas, as well as kitchen (edible plants), herb, shade, wildflower, and rock gardens. Another garden has hardy fruit trees and there is a Junior Master Gardner plot for kids to tend.

I took numerous photos of the various gardens as I wandered around the site. I wasn't the only one taking lots of pictures:

I'll include about 50 photos that I took here and on the next page, identifying the flowers and other plants that I think I can identify correctly. The gardens are listed in the CCW order in which I walked around the grounds.


Alaska Master Gardener volunteers plant and maintain this bed with donations from the Municipality of Anchorage.

The current exhibit is "An Alaskan Kitchen Garden."  It features edible herbs, flowers, and vegetables to demonstrate how such gardens can be productive, sustainable, and diverse. It's a very attractive display:



Harvested produce is donated to the Food Bank of Alaska and Bean's Cafe to promote the program, "Plant a Row for the Hungry."


The upper and lower perennial gardens were created to showcase perennials that are hardy to Southcentral Alaska, such as delphiniums, poppies, peonies, hostas, and roses:


Bleeding hearts (red)




Above and below:  blue delphiniums


The marker says Meadow Rue but they must not be in bloom yet; these red flowers are a type of peony.

Above and below:  one of several very tall perennials


Siberian blue poppies

Above and below:  Siberian cat mint

There is a relaxing walk through the forest between the lower perennial garden and the herb garden:


Keep going -- lots more photos from the other botanical gardens on the next page . . .

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil