Each summer when I am not working I try to volunteer somewhere at least once a week so I have a reason to leave my house and not sit on the couch eating Oreos and watching Call the Midwife or whatever show I decided to binge watch. My first summer after teaching I volunteered at World Relief (shameless plug – literally one of the best nonprofits ever. Check them out). Last summer I volunteered for myself by planning my wedding. This summer I decided to try something new and I am volunteering at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens in Fairbanks. After my gardening failures of early summer (read here for more info) I decided to learn more by working in someone else’s garden.
In case you are not on Pinterest, peonies are a big deal right now. I can’t say I blame anyone. They are dang gorgeous flowers. I had them in my bouquet at our wedding. But fun fact: peony season doesn’t really match up with wedding season in the Lower 48, so it can be hard to have enough peonies to go around. They are also fickle creatures and can be picky about growing. Cue Alaskan summer! Alaska has totally capitalized on the peony boom and peony gardening in Alaska is incredibly popular. Because of our intense amount of sunlight, they thrive up here. Many peonies in weddings in the Lower 48 are supplied from Alaska!
Even better news for you, peony lovers: there is a peony garden at the Botanical Garden. Their blooming season is just about over, but yesterday I went to check them out before I was volunteering. I had to share some photos with you all! They are gorgeous and HUGE. I hope you enjoy this little (#nofilter) walk through the garden.
Some of them, I am not exaggerating, were as big as basketballs. If you can see my hand in the picture, it is because they were literally so big I had to hold them to get a photo. Aren’t they beautiful? I want to weep at how gorgeous they are!
And finally, a photo of an Alaskan cabbage for good measure. I included my feet for scale. The thing is massive.