The Alaskan Honeymoon: Part One (Anchorage, AK)

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We knew we’d landed in Anchorage when we saw this at the airport.

Yes, it was thrilling, but it was sad at the same time.

Rhodochiton vine in a planter outside of a hotel in Anchorage.

We landed late on Friday night and stayed in Anchorage for two nights.

Most people wouldn’t recommend this, but we were exhausted! We stayed downtown at the Hilton and had a great time.

A closeup of the vine.

We had an open air market across the street to walk to and we ate breakfast at the Snow City Cafe.

Then we visited the Anchorage Visitor Information Center.

I can’t say enough about its original “green roof”.

It very much fueled and gave fire to the pioneer blood in my veins.

The Fuchsia baskets are obviously overwintered. Look at those woody stems!

This was the beginning of the floriferousness too.

With all those extra daylight hours, the blooms are a bit different up North. I don’t know how this happens exactly, but I saw it on several occasions and I’ll continue to show you images of these amazing plants.

(Yes, I’m sure that these are well fed too.)

Some Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium).

The native plants were plentiful.

Fireweed is by far the most spectacular of all during September and you’ll be seeing a lot of it as these posts progress.

This amazing shrub was really enchanting. It is native to colder northern regions but I cannot recall what it is right now. Any thoughts? I picked seeds and I know it’s in the pea family.

The Sorbus were plentiful but I’m not completely certain which ones I was seeing.

This was my honeymoon after all so I tried not to go too crazy with the plant ID.

We saw a lot of lilacs but only a few with blooms.

This one is a smaller bush variety.

I’m ashamed that my evergreen tree ID is so shabby. I’ve chosen to show you this amazing tree even though I’m not certain what it is.

Please forgive me. I promise to study.

On the way back from one of the best Japanese dinners I’ve ever had, we found these rhubarb plants being grown in the lawn of a Catholic church. (They are the plants up near the fence. Others were planted in spots on the other side of the sign too—right in the middle of the lawn.)

Makes me happy that they’re thinking about the food or lawn question too.

There was more floriferousness nearby as we walked past the mall on our way back to the hotel.

When I saw the Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) I had to smile. It’s not at all a plant I think of when I think of Alaska but I was so happy to see such a fine specimen.

Then there were the rose hips on the Rugosa roses. I just couldn’t get enough of these plants. They are all over the place and they grow so much better up North than they do down here in Oregon.

It became so clear to me right away that Alaska is not the northernmost edge of our climate, but that we are the southernmost extreme of its climate. I felt a strong kinship with the region right out of the gate.

That last night I tried on my kind of bear fur hat in the hotel gift shop—the totally silly fake kind. I thought a bit about Ms. Palin and wondered what kind of mama bear I could be if I tried. Luckily I lost my taste for politics years ago, but I remain interested at least in what politicians are doing—or NOT doing.

A very large part of me felt at home in Alaska. It reminded me of the Oregon I grew up in and the people I knew as a girl.

This was just the beginning though and so rarely am I so comfortable right away in a new place.

More to come…

9 thoughts on “The Alaskan Honeymoon: Part One (Anchorage, AK)

  1. What a wonderful post! The lilacs which we grow here had already bloomed in Alaska before your visit. These later bloomers are not as floriferous or fragrant but are often grown because they bloom at a later time. Don't remember the real name of the late lilacs or the pea bush. Interesting that you noticed the difference in blooms there. I think it has to do with both the increased light and the cooler evenings that perhaps don't tax the plants and make them suffer from heat exhaustion.

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  2. I am so glad you read the post. I still have 4-5 to go and you can help me with them as I go along. You're right about the heat exhaustion. That has to be key too. As for me noticing, that's what I do. Sometimes I am so sad I never became the ecologist I wanted to be so long ago.

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  3. I wish I'd bought it but I didn't because I have been on a very tight budget this year. We saved all of our money and blew it on very fancy meals and a nice boat ride to see the glacier. It was SOOOOOOOOOO worth it.

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  4. If you dream of going to Alaska you MUST go. Lots of people go there for cruises but I highly recommend flying in and renting a car. For us plant people, it is so much better to see the land. (Take a day trip on a boat or else take a car ferry. You must get reservations long in advance. I'd like to go back and take the car ferry from Homer to Kodiak Island. I would also like to drive from Anchorage to Denali but that's a whole other trip!)

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