Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening in Alaska

It’s not all igloos and Iditarods up there

Today’s GPOD comes from Patrick Ryan, the Education Specialist at the Alaska Botanical Garden. The garden is in Anchorage, and you can find out more about it at

A lady's slipper orchid (Cypripedium). Patrick would like to point out that Alaska has 33 terrestrial native orchid species, more than three times that of Hawaii. The Aloha State, however, still has Magnum P. I.

ABG Entry Path in winter

The same path in summer

They can grow Mecanopsis and you can’t. Patrick says the ABG is building a collection of approximately 12 species of this genus.

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  1. user-4691082 12/27/2017

    Ryan, please send more! We would like that! Those photos are lovely. I was studying how to grow cypripedium and since the one I want is 90.00 at plant delights nursery, I don’t want to screw it up!

  2. cheryl_c 12/27/2017

    I love the 'with and without' pictures of the entry trail into the garden, and the two portraits of very special plants. Also, I agree with Rhonda that we want to see more! Thanks, Ryan, for showing us how beautiful Alaska is - what zone is your garden?

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/27/2017

    Beautiful. That C. guttatum is such an amazing gem. Too hot down my way to grow it, and the same for the Meconopsis. I don't wish for colder weather, but I do wish for more heat-tolerant, blue Meconopsis!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. anitaberlanga 12/27/2017

    oh, to be able to grow Meconopsis here in IL (so far, no good)! Would love to see more photos!

  5. Sunshine111 12/27/2017

    Who knew Alaska had a botanic garden? I didn’t! It makes me want to come visit, especially to see the orchids, one of my favorites

  6. User avater
    Vel Rhodes 12/27/2017

    Lovely photos! Been wanting to visit Alaska for quite some time and now am determined to do so sooner rather than later. You are wrong about the Meconopsis though.......they grow fabulously in my neck of the woods ( Port Alberni, Vancouver Island . ) maybe I will post some photos of our patches this year! Oh and by the way...the Aloha State can keep Magnum P.I., I'd rather have the Cypripediums!

    1. user-6536305 12/27/2017

      Please do send your Meconopsis photos.

      1. User avater
        Vel Rhodes 12/27/2017

        Hi Lilian, yes, I was thinking that maybe this year coming I would send some photos in. Hopefully the weather cooperates and all of the Meconopsis put on a good show. Are you the lady that lives in Richmond? If so, then perhaps we have met or even conversed if you go to the AGCBC plant show and sale at Van Dusen Gardens.!? My husband Dan and I have a small gardening blog called Dirty Knees Plants. There is a photo of Meconopsis on there as well as some other cool plants......if you are interested. Happy New Year to you!

        1. user-6536305 12/28/2017

          That is Cherry who lives in Richmond. I am in Vancouver BC. I help at Vandusen plant sale and seedy Saturday some year but seldom go to plant show. Will check your blog.

  7. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/27/2017

    That's such a sweet blue color that particular Meconopsis is displaying...who wouldn't love the dear, beguiling face? I like the sly humor tucked into the introductory comments and it made me curious why a reboot of Magnum PI hasn't been brought to the small screen. Heaven knows it seems like Hollywood does remakes of pretty much anything that was once successful.

  8. NCYarden 12/27/2017

    I went to Alaska back in 2005 and really loved it. Waiting to go back one day. Quite a surprise too to see what grows there, and how big in some cases. That Mecanopsis is drool worthy...why have the horticultural genetics labs not modified this to grow in my steamy environment? Thanks for sharing.

  9. user-7008421 12/27/2017

    Great garden! Know things grow well and fast during Alaska's short warm season.

  10. soilgoil 12/27/2017

    I wish I'd known there was a botanical garden in Anchorage! I lived in Kodiak for several years, and would occasionally fly to Anchorage for a "big city" fix. My Kodiak garden was sparse, except for native plants (including orchids), but nasturtiums loved that gritty, black volcanic soil! I never tried Meconopsis there, but they do well here in Washington State.

  11. user-6536305 12/27/2017

    Lovely photos of Meconopsis and Cypripediums. Vandusen botanic garden has a nice patch of Meconopsis. I have bought the seeds and have sown twice - no sigh of germination. This made my green thumb status down to the drain. I found out that before a trip, google to see if there is a botanic garden near the area, read the rating, then check the size and allow enough time to visit it > 2 hours. Thanks for sharing Patrick! Happy New Year everyone!

  12. user-7007140 12/27/2017

    Such a beautiful entry to the garden - in any season it seems.
    Plant needs are so varied and my environment and soil so difficult that my shopping cart usually contains really hardy varieties. However, i was once given a native orchid and am proud to boast that now has become a small clump. Thank you my friend!

  13. user-7008735 12/28/2017

    Just four photos, Patrick? Don't be such a tease! Please send more. That's such a delightful shade of blue that perhaps I will try to grow some Meconopsis -- despite their reputation for being heartbreakers.

  14. perenniallycrazy 12/29/2017

    Swoon! Hope I can visit Alaska one day.

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