Alaska Map

We arrive
Kenai Peninsula
Glacier Bay
Glacier Gardens
A brief detour
Aboard the Sheltered Seas
Petersburg to Ketchikan
Last Leg

Nate and Angie

Nate, Angie, Jean Sue, Joyce & pal

Labyrnth at Shrine

Labyrinth at Shrine of St. Teresa

Glacier Gardens, Shrine and more Juneau

One of the unexpected highlights was Glacier Gardens; they must be seen to be believed. The Rain Forest climate and long days of sunlight in the summer really encourages flowers and plants to grow. A unique feature: They take fallen trees, embed them in the ground upside down, prune off the roots and use the base for plantings. Their main building, frequently used for weddings, has “chandeliers” of cascading petunias, hanging begonias and fuchsias. We took their golf cart tour of the rain forest to see the natural flora and stayed quite a while enjoying the formal plantings.

JS has been seeing spectacularly large begonias in Maine for years; they were also in Alaska. They are called Illumination Begonias. She got a similar plant this year for Philadelphia but the flowers don’t get as large because the sunlight hours are shorter. We saw a noticeable difference from Anchorage (where it rarely got beyond twilight) to Juneau where it did get dark after 11 pm.

Not only do the annuals do well in pots and beds around doorways, window boxes, hanging from street lamps and profuse gardens, the wildflowers thrive in the long days of summer. The blue lupine was out in full force while we were there; we were told the next to flower would be fields of red fireweed. We saw white clusters of yarrow everywhere and the skunk cabbage was profuse in the low lands. Jean Sue loved the star (Western) columbine, flowers over an inch long dangling on lax stems. Luckily we were warned to avoid Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus) before the tiny spines got into our skin and clothes.

We drove out to the Shrine of St. Teresa on a small island with a wonderful view; the Stations of the Cross surround a small chapel. This was for St Teresa of Lisieux, the patron saint of the Child. On the way back to town, we stopped at Point Lena, a local beach, lovely and quiet. Here the drought was most in evidence; a fish ladder to allow fish from the creek into the inlet was almost dry. It was a lovely, quiet beach but, vacation season having started, the noise of boats and small airplanes was almost constant.

During our week in Juneau we enjoyed the Douglas Café a couple of times: marvelous beer-battered halibut, great onion rings and Bob got calamari steaks, long strips as opposed to the usual rings: tender and delicious in a citrus sauce. Our last night in Juneau after a relaxing chat on Joyce’s deck and a visit with her dogs, we ate at Twisted Fish with her and the bridal couple, Angie and Nate Soboleff. Lots of good halibut and salmon and Bob enjoyed sable fish, also known as black cod.
Next: A Brief Detour

Shrine of St. Teresa overlooking water                            Upended trees at Glacier Gardens

Trail, Glacier Gardens

Trail, Glacier Gardens

Hanging baskets, Glacier Gardens

'Chandeliers' at
Glacier Gardens

Begonias at Glacier Gardens
© Robert and Jean Sue Libkind