As I write this, it’s 10:30 pm and still light outside! I’m in Alaska, taping new shows for Garden Smart. A lot of people wonder if you can even garden here. I used to be one of them. I’m not any more!
The days are long and the temperatures cool. It’s the perfect combination to bring out the bold bright colors of every flower that blooms here. It’s also the reason that so many world record vegetables are grown here. More about that later.
Friday was our first day of work. We start at 7:30, with only a few hours of sleep under our belts but with enough adrenaline to carry us through the day…barely. But it’s an amazing one. We feature the Alaska State Fair. Most people don’t realize its history is rooted in agriculture and horticultural displays and events. We feature some of their beautiful display gardens that will blanket the fairgrounds for the 300,000 plus visitors that will enjoy them when the fair opens in just over a week.
Our next stop is a short drive away to meet Scott Rob, holder of five current Guinness Book World Records for growing the largest vegetables. This is a personal thrill for me as I’ve always wanted to see this in person and meet the people responsible for it. Gardeners like Scott take their hobby very seriously and the competition is fierce. Scott will be entering several of his plants in the fair. He tells me we’re looking at some strong candidates for new world records. How cool is that!
For the past two days, we’ve had some rare but much needed down time. I started today with an exhilarating early morning run through the rain forest that surrounds the resort where we are staying. The temperature was brisk and the aroma of the damp, pine-scented forest floor was heaven. My feet felt like they had wings. I could have run for miles.
The next adventure of the day involved cruising through the Prince William Sound to view glaciers up close and personal. Along the way, we saw many bald eagles, sea otters, seals and more. The glaciers were incredible and on occasion, large pieces would break off and fall into the water with a thunderous crash.
I end this day once again exhausted but thankfully this time, not from a long day of work, but rather spending time experiencing the magnificence of just a very small part of what Alaska has to offer. I hear many stories of people that come to Alaska to visit, fall in love and never leave. I can see how that could happen and briefly contemplate the same outcome for myself.