The Upside-Down Forest of Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska

Discussion in 'How's It Growing?' started by pmurphy, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    I thought I would share an interesting visit.

    In September of 2019 my mother and her husband really wanted to go on a cruise, so much so that it took only three days from the time they asked me to look into a cruise in late July until the tickets were purchased. She also asked if my husband and I would accompany them as they had never sailed before (we usually do the warm Caribbean). We managed to get on the second to last ship for the season. And being this late in the season there wasn't as much to see or do as some things had already shut down. Our first stop was in Juneau where we visited something I would never expect to see in Alaska - a botanical garden.
    Now what sort of gardens could they have so far north? (and I was surprised to learn that Juneau is around hardiness zone 6). It turns out one of Juneau's top tourist attractions is the Upside-down Forest.

    The story goes that the owner of the property where the gardens sit originally owned only a small section of land surrounded by land owned by the State. The problem was his property sat at the bottom of the mountain and was often subjected to landslides, the control of which was the responsibility of the State. After some complaining about the dangers the State did the only thing they could do, sell him the land dirt cheap and make it his responsibility. Now came the job of cleaning up and controlling the ongoing slides. During the clean up efforts a very large tree became wedged and buried deep in the ground upside down with only the roots exposed. And, as the land owner was into gardening and his plan was to open a garden center on the land, this gave him an idea. He planted various ferns as well as a mix of annuals and perennials in the roots and the Upside-Down Forest was born. And since that time this upside forest has grown along paths and into the actual forest before continuing up the side of the mountain to an altitude of almost 600 ft.
     

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  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    What a unique inspiration for a very beautiful garden. An opportunity to visit this garden would perhaps be enough to go on another cruise one day.
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks for posting those and reminding me of this place. I had forgotten all about it, but I was at this Glacier Gardens in Juneau at the beginning of June, 2009 on a cruise, and it turns out I took photos.
    20090603_GlacierGardens-Juneau_Cutler_4988ps.jpg 20090603_GlacierGardens-Juneau_Cutler_4989ps.jpg 20090603_GlacierGardens-Juneau_Cutler_4991ps.jpg
     
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  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    'THANKYOU' both for sharing these. My wife and I will never visit this wonderful place, so your photos will do very nicely indeed.
    @pmurphy who needs the Caribbean P when you can visit this joyful place.
     
  5. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    I'm glad I could bring back some memories, I only wish our weather had been as nice as when you were there - it may have been gloomy that day but it wasn't actually raining (and as it turned out, the weather only improved for us as we cruised to other ports) .
     

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