Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Patrick Ryan. I have been gardening and playing music for over 50 years, and I was able to combine these two passions with a 21-year career as a first-grade teacher here in Anchorage, Alaska. And now I’ll sharing my experiences with you in the Musings from an Alaskan Gardener column.

Photo of Pat Ryan with blue spring jacket.


Entrance sign at the Alaska Botanical Garden.

As the Education Specialist for the Alaska Botanical Garden since 1999, I am lucky to walk daily into a forest that features various “garden rooms.” I ran our summer camp for 20 years and am tasked with doing talks, workshops, interviews, writing, etc.

The Herb Garden at the Alaska Botanical Garden.
The Herb Garden at the Alaska Botanical Garden.

Alaska Botanical Garden (ABG) consists of 110 acres (45 ha) of boreal forest with 8 acres (3 ha) of cultivated gardens and interconnected nature trails. The Garden houses over 1,100 varieties and over 150 distinct species of plants hardy to the region.


Himalayan blue poppy
Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis baileyi).

After years of research and preparation, ABG received national accreditation by the Plant Collections Network and the American Public Gardens Association for its Meconopsis Collection. To earn and maintain accreditation through the Plant Collections Network requires meeting industry standards in collections management: having the tools, resources, curiosity, and knowledge to record, report, and act in good stewardship. We have identified 20 target species that we believe we can successfully cultivate, of which we currently hold 14.

Go to and look under the Horticulture tab to see what’s in bloom, more on Meconopsis (including cultivation tips), and explore our entire collection.

I am honored to be invited to share my musings with the Laidback Gardener family. I look forward to promoting gardening tips and tales of life in the Great North!

Patrick R. Ryan
Education Specialist
Alaska Botanical Garden
4601 Campbell Airstrip Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507
Office: 907-770-3692
Cell: 907-227-9227

Patrick Ryan is an Alaska Master Gardener and the Education Specialist for the Alaska Botanical Garden. A retired elementary school teacher, Patrick is a member of the Anchorage Community Forest Council and sits on the board for Alaska Agriculture in the Classroom.

9 comments on “Musings from an Alaskan Gardener

  1. This is so great, Patrick! Thank you for sharing these details and I look forward to read more of your columns.

  2. Leslie Bell

    Patrick—I get little hints of who you have become since we shared some musical stages together. Congrats for your writing, garden education and classroom gigs. It’s nice to be hearing from and about you!

  3. Look forward to hearing more from you Patrick.

  4. Ferne Dalton

    Welcome Patrick. It is good to have someone representing the real North to speak to us.

  5. Welcome to the Laidback Gardener Community!

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