Head gardener brightens Alaska State Fair with flowers
For more than three decades, Becky Myrvold has been brightening up the Alaska State Fair grounds with flowers.
As head gardener, her growing season begins in January, starting 50,000 plants from seed.
“My job is year round and as soon as the fair gets done, I’ll start planning for next year,” Myrvold said.
Her flowers aren’t just part of the background but a focal point of the fairgrounds too. She’s the mastermind behind the Bee Happy centerpiece, the theme for the fair’s 80th anniversary. The bees and their hive are made up of 3,000 to 4,000 flowers.
At the Kid Zone, you can discover the fantastical world of Victor’s Garden.
“Victor is a dragon who has traveled around the world to keep the egg of the royal family safe,” she explained.
Myrvold came up with the idea after visiting other children’s gardens around the country. She wanted a place that brings people into a magical forest without ever having to leave the midway.
“That’s the whole idea is to create an environment and make you feel like you’re there,” she said.
Kids can crawl through spooky tunnels and learn about the lives of the dragons she’s come up with. She starts from scratch every year so she can get creative with the characters and the climate.
“This is one of the largest herbaceous perennials in the world. It’s gunnera manicata and in the Lower 48 the leaves would be ginormous,” she said, pointing out one of the plants.
For Myrvold, the flowers bring that pop of color that captures the spirit of the carnival.
“I think if they were missing people would notice something is gone,” she said. “Maybe they don’t know they’re here right now, but if we took it all away it would become a lot less park-like and more stark.”