Seaside Stories

Making Seaside Beautiful: Gardens

May 13, 2011 | by Barbara Jensen

Are you curious about Seaside’s flowers and plants? Every time I pass the new garden beds coming to life along Roosevelt (pictured above), I dream of growing my own patch of lettuce, spinach and other edibles this summer. Seeking help on starting a garden plot sent me in search of Pam Fleming, whose reputation as a resource on Seaside’s gardens was a bit understated as I was to discover. I met her at Back Alley Gardens & Natural Nook Florists , 738 Pacific Way in Gearhart.

Billed as perhaps the world’s smallest garden center, Back Alley Gardens developed from the work of Cathie Cates of Natural Nook Florist and Fleming of Nature’s Helper Landscaping. Both see the garden center as an expansion of their special expertise. They each have something new and creative to offer. From traditional arrangements to livings designs, they want to create long lasting container gardens filled with living bouquets. To do this they are cultivating a selection of plants able to thrive in this coastal area. All are invited to bring containers to fill or choose containers from the shop. I did not bring a container but now I know.

What I did bring was my gardening questions and Fleming talked with me and answered questions about the edible variety of gardening. Fleming, a master gardener, and an enthusiastic booster for the Seaside Community Garden (located behind the pool and along Roosevelt near Lyle’s) said that the Community Gardens are a smashing success every year and a resource for local residents wanting a garden of their own. She has been busy planting trees around the raised beds, and I left rather eager to get started.

After meeting Fleming, I simply had to go through town revisiting and admiring the beautiful miniature gardens found around Seaside all over again. Why? I found out that Fleming makes them. Fleming’s Natures’ Helper is the creative force behind Seaside’s one hundred plus miniature garden spots known as Pocket Gardens.

Fleming’s themes and designs are found at the intersections, side streets, and in front of businesses along downtown Seaside, from the turnaround along Broadway throughout the downtown city blocks.  Some of her pocket gardens have themes connected to the businesses they decorate. For example, she planted herbs in front of the Pig and Pancake Restaurant. She is said to plan her gardens in terms of micro climates which is probably why in some of the small more protected garden spaces flowers bloom as early as February.

Her work beautifying Seaside through her many gardens could itself be described as a vision of micro-ginormous proportions. Others have called her pocket gardens living art. However, writer Marilyn Gilbaugh said it better, “Seaside has its riches:  the ever-changing ocean, long stretches of sandy beach, the surrounding mountains…and Pam Fleming’s gardens.”

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

How To Surf Seaside

Surfing in Oregon? Yes! The North Coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest. And yes, the ocean is a bit nippy, b...

Learn More
Summer’s Great, but There’s Nothing Else like Winter in Seaside

When you imagine a classic beach town, you probably picture something similar to Seaside, Oregon. Our town of 6,700 sits less than...

Learn More
Seaside’s Beloved Old Cypress Trees

Cypress trees are not native to the Seaside area, as they are to parts of Southwest Oregon, near the California border. Under idea...

Learn More
The Best of Times News: The Beach at the End of the Trail

Travel writer for the fabulous 50-and-over set, Andrea Gross, spent some time on Oregon’s North Coast in the summer of 2014....

Learn More
A Kid-Free Couple’s Getaway

We know kids love Seaside. And Seaside loves kids. But you can, of course, enjoy Seaside without the youngsters in tow. Whether yo...

Learn More
Fall in Seaside

Experiencing the changing seasons in Seaside

Learn More
Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

Take a look at a vintage float from the early 1900s Seaside parade.

Learn More
How to Plan a Romantic Stay in Seaside

Plotting your Valentine’s Day plans? This year swap the heart-shaped box of chocolates and grocery-store flowers for an escape t...

Learn More
Shopper’s Delight: Selnes Grocery

The hustle and bustle of Holiday shopping in Seaside circa 1926 was not nearly the same as it today.

Learn More
SOLV Beach Clean Up

When I look at our beaches I don’t see garbage. I see a breathtaking coastline, and I think how lucky we are to have such pristine beauty right in our own backyard. I believe most beachgoers, both locals and tourists, are conscientious about disposing their refuse properly after a day playing on the beach. So why do we have the SOLV beach cleanup twice a year?

Learn More
Seaside Lifeguards: A Fond Seasonal Farewell

Can you believe it’s almost Labor Day Weekend? Don’t fret!  We’re still probably in for some dynamic weather throughout Sep...

Learn More
Insider Tips: Exploring the Prom Like a Local

It’s difficult to imagine Seaside without the historic Promenade, the famous lamp-lined trail that stretches along the sandy bea...

Learn More
Celebrating Spring

Celebrating spring and the lush wildlife in Seaside and the North Oregon Coast.

Learn More
RECAP: Chalk Art Contest on the Seaside Prom

In celebration of the Prom Centennial, the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District hosted the first annual Chalk Art Contest on...

Learn More
Crabbing at the 12th Avenue Bridge

The inside scoop on catching your dinner in Seaside.

Learn More
The Amazing and Colorful History of Seaside

The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the sea near Seaside. Seaside has one of the most compelling stories you’ll find anyw...

Learn More
Clam Chowder
Must-Eat Clam Chowders in Seaside

A look at five of the more than 20 clam chowders found in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
How to Sip Coffee Like a Local

Seaside has something for everyone — its coffee spots included. It has artisanal sit-down bakeries with locally-roasted pour-ove...

Learn More