Garden Report: Meet the man behind Anchorage’s curated exotic plant collection
Doug Tryck has a passion for collecting exotic plants. It’s a hobby he started when he was only seven years old, after collecting his first specimen: a white iris at what was at the time called Chester Creek Estuary.
He says gardening runs in the family. His great grandmother and grandfather were both gardeners, and they helped spawn his passion for plants. He started his first nursery in his parent’s backyard, and today runs Tryck Gardens and Nursery on Rabbit Creek Roadin Anchorage. He’s been growing his plant collection in this spot for 35 years, and he doesn’t have plans to stop anytime soon.
His garden is only 2.5 acres, but it feels big enough to get lost in all day. Every plant in Tryck’s collection is selected with purpose. He starts by researching the meteorological conditions of different places throughout the world. He looks for places with a similar climate as Anchorage — moist falls, mild summers, and long winters. Once he finds a climate that works, he chooses the plants, which Tryck says is the hardest part.
As you walk around the property, you’ll find flowering plants and trees from every corner of the world. Most of them come from the Northern Hemisphere. He’s tried growing plants from the Southern Hemisphere, but says “they just don’t quite make it here.”
Some are from North America, while others have been collected from Europe or Central Asia. Japan, Korea, and Turkistan are just some of the individual countries represented in the garden. Tryck says that he’s purchased many of them from exotic plant dealers in the United States but occasionally he collects them himself, like the fir tree he dug up on the western slopes of the Cascade Range in Washington. Tryck says his plant wish list is a long, and after decades of collecting, it’s still sometimes hard to track down the plant that he wants.
Tryck operates a small nursery business from the front of his property four days a week, where he sells cuttings from many of his exotic plants. He’s got a bigger plan for his property though. In the next three years, Tryck plans to reconstruct his gardens, and add in some new sections. He dreams of phasing out the nursery and turning the property into a destination garden, open to visitors. His vision includes groomed trails with signage and brochures filled with identification information on his plants. This summer he’ll have two volunteers from the Worldwide Organization of Organic Farmers in town to help him get started on the project.
For more information, visit Tryck Nursery online
Hours: Friday-Monday 12-5 PM
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