As I write this, it’s 10:30pm and still light outside! I’m in Alaska – taping new shows for GardenSmart. Many people wonder if it’s even possible to garden in Alaska. I used to be one of them, but 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 this is where so many world record vegetables are grown. More about that later.
Friday was our first day of work. We got started at 7:30am. We only had a few hours of sleep under our belts but enough adrenaline to carry us through the day…barely. That said, it was an amazing one, featuring the Alaska State Fair. Most people don’t realize its history is rooted in agriculture and horticultural displays and events. This episode features some of the beautiful display gardens that will blanket the fairgrounds. When the fair opens in just over a week, the gardens will be enjoyed by over 300,000 visitors.
Our next stop was a short drive away. We met Scott Rob, holder of five current Guinness World Records for growing the largest vegetables. This was a personal thrill for me. I’d always wanted to see this in person and meet the grower 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, and told me we were 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’re 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 other wildlife. 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 not from a long day of work (thankfully this time) but, instead, spending time experiencing the magnificence of just a very small part of what Alaska has to offer. I hear many stories of people who come to Alaska to visit, fall in love and never leave. I now understand how that could happen and briefly contemplated the same outcome for myself.