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!

Dog Days of Summer in Seaside

Give your dog the time of his life on Seaside's beach.

Learn More
Boogie Nights

A look at Seaside's old dance hall and skating rink

Learn More
Driving the Oregon Coast Highway

Unique views are plentiful along all 363 miles

Learn More
Locals Weigh In on the Best Ways to Visit Seaside

Building a campfire on the beach is a special tradition in Seaside. Photo: Kimson Doan Maybe you’ve visited Seaside for decades,...

Learn More
Accessible Adventures For Everyone

Seaside is open — and easy — for folks of all abilities. From where to stay to what to do, we’ve got a rundown of tips to ma...

Learn More
The Perfect S’more

As the sun continues to make more regular appearances, I continue to look forward to external sunshine. And, yearning for a sweet treat, I’m reminded of that summer favorite: S’mores!

Learn More
Snail Mail: the Agony & the Ecstasy

Snail mail in Seaside circa 1909.

Learn More
Episode Five: The Historic Gilbert District

We explore the Gilbert District in this walk down memory lane

Learn More
Surrey in Seaside
How to Bike Seaside

Our author takes a look at the various ways to bike in and around Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament
World’s Largest Beach Volleyball Tournament

Come August, the “digs” along Seaside’s beach have nothing to do with razor clams. For the 36th year, Seaside will host the ...

Learn More
Golfing at the Beach

I adore golfing! I love walking along the greens, the feel of a driver in my hand, and I love watching the ball fly through the air. Unfortunately for me, I’m not very good at golf. I can hit the ball straight but not far, and my putting is atrocious! Regardless of my lack of skills I still love it, and thankfully my boyfriend is also incredibly patient while I putt away. As a treat for his patience I’m planning to take him golfing in Seaside. Golfing on a green course with the Pacific Ocean nearby is an incredible experience. There is one golf course in Seaside, and a few close by in Gearhart (just two miles from downtown Seaside).

Learn More
Finding a Room in Seaside, Oregon

One of the many services we offer at the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau is lodging assistance for visitors. During busy months, V...

Learn More
Episode Two: the Lewis & Clark Salt Works

Join us on an audio walking tour of the Lewis & Clark Salt Works in Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
How to Start Cycling In Seaside

Few places in the Pacific Northwest are as primed for pedal-powered exploration as Seaside. I should know since I’ve ridden abou...

Learn More
Broadway Boon

A glimpse at the history and evolution of Broadway.

Learn More
Breaking High

A look at a waves breaking over the turnaround at high tide in Seaside

Learn More
Stop and Smell the Roses

Spending a little time with Seaside's pocket gardens

Learn More
How to Treasure the Beach

No one owns the Oregon Coast — it belongs to everyone. Thanks to 1967’s landmark Beach Bill, Oregon has some of the most prote...

Learn More