In early 1997, Les Brake, owner of Coyote Garden in Willow, sent out questionnaires to Alaska members of the American Rock Garden Society (now known as NARGS - North American Rock Garden Society) to gauge the interest in forming a group here in Alaska. He also sent questionnaires to gardeners in other groups. A meeting was set at the home of Florene and Doug Carney and invitations were sent out. Thirty five interested gardeners showed up and agreed to further discuss the forming of a Chapter.
At the second meeting the name, Alaska Rock Garden Society, was decided upon, officers were elected and it was decided how often to meet and where. A Constitution and Bylaws were then written and Non Profit Status was obtained. Veronica grandiflora, Aleutian Speedwell, a short ground cover was chosen as the emblem. This plant grows very well in our area and the blue flowers are a great addition to the rock gardens.
The society has been very active in bringing well know speakers to the area. The group leads seed collecting trips to areas of alpine plants in Alaska. Areas included have been Thompson Pass, Hatcher Pass, McLaren Summit, Caribou Dome and Eagle Summit. In 2000 the group sponsored a seed collecting trip to China. The seeds collected are either sold or are free at plant sales and meetings.
Then in 2002 the society organized and presented the North American Rock Garden Society annual meeting. It was a great experience for people to come to Alaska and see our gardens and there was a post trip to Nome led by Verna and Frank Pratt.
ARGS meetings are 4 times a year and open to the public. There is always a program with snacks and drawings for books or plants and seeds both from the local chapter and NARGS are available. During the summer there are plant sales in Anchorage and the Valley. Members have built and maintain the rock gardens at the Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage.