Located on the West Ridge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Georgeson Botanical Gardens is an oasis of color and calm with a stunning view of the Tanana Valley and Alaska Range. Sure to please, this 5-acre garden is alive with a profusion of flowers, herbs, trees, shrubs and vegetables that thrive under the midnight sun.
Billed as the northernmost public garden in North America, the garden is named for Dr. Charles Christian Georgeson and is part of the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station that he founded. A center for research and education, the garden was established in its current incarnation in 1991.
Visitors and locals alike enjoy spending hours viewing the scenery while surrounded by the bounty of Interior Alaska’s short but intense growing season. Popular features include benches, birdbaths, sculptures and a pond, and a children’s garden features a hedge maze, a water garden and a miniature log cabin.
The garden is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Guided tours are offered at 2 p.m. every Friday, or visitors can enjoy self-guided tours with the aid of a free “Garden at a Glance” map available on site. Suggested admission is $5 per person.
Not surprisingly, the garden is home to many special events, parties and classes. Music in the Garden features local bands every Thursday night from May 23 to Aug. 8, except for July 4. The concerts are free to the public and run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Grant’s Treehouse, which features a covered gazebo reached via a wooden suspension bridge, can hold up to 25 people and is a favorite site for weddings.
A hexagonal deck surrounded by flowers and featuring a huge grassy area is another top choice for nuptials or private parties. The Rotary Garden and the Beistline Classroom both offer a covered, cement-floored space for larger gatherings of 40 to 100 people. All four spaces are available for half-day or full-day rental. Visit www.georgesonbotanicalgarden.org for more details.
The Georgeson Botanical Garden Society also host free events throughout the season. A calendar can be found on the events page at the garden’s website.