I was very surprised last week when I visited Glacier Gardens in Juneau, Alaska. Japanese maples in the garden, in Alaska? Japanese maples are marginal plants here in Wisconsin, so I didn't expect to see them in Alaska. Yet here they were. So here I was in Juneau, Alaska standing in the midst of a rain forest surround by upside down trees with beautiful gardens built into their old roots.
One of the women working in the greenhouse was originally from the Southern Wisconsin area. I asked her about how the winters in Juneau compared to Wisconsin winters. She said that the winters were milder in Juneau. Another worker told me that they received more rain than they did snow in winter. He said they might receive an average of 100 inches of snow each winter, but most of the snow was washed away in the rain within a day or two. He told me they could grow plants in zone 3-6.
We left Glacier Gardens that day, and we drove about 8 miles down the road to Tongass National Park. What's in Tongass National Park? The Mendenhall Glacier. From rain forest to glacier in only a few miles, how cool is that?
I certainly had thoughts of moving to Juneau after learning of their warmer climate. Just not sure if I could deal with the 50-90 inches of rain yearly, or the fact that Juneau is land locked. Our bus driver told us that they only way to get to Juneau was by boat, plane, or birth canal.
Looks like you had a really great time! And the gardens were beautiful!
I live in Juneau and appreciate your post! i've lost a lot of japanese maples here. i found out a couple of years ago they survive only if they're planted near a building for protection.
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