Walking around Anchorage I was struck by the pots full of flowers in colors of the Alaska Flag, deep indigo sparked with touches of yellow. It wasn’t until the end of our trip up to Denali State Park that I began to understand Anchorage’s commitment to gardens and the beautification of their community. They do this through a Master Gardeners Program whose graduates take parts of the city and build gardens. Anchorage gardeners face the challenge of a short growing season and cool soil offset by loads of daylight and few disease and insect problems. Each year in the city the organizers plan a “surprise” garden that engages city dwellers as the flowers come up and begin blooming in their design. As well, community gardens encourage sustainability and a connection to the land. It has been proven to enhance the overall well being of the community with benefits such as reduced crime. Walking around Anchorage I was reminded of Seattle in the early days. Nearly fifty percent of the poplulation of Alaska lives in Anchorage. Most of the buildings felt utilitarian in their architecture, small windows and sturdy. The baskets of flowers peppered the view with color and life. I found it charming and was intrigued by how the city was making it happen. Very progressive.