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!

Elevated View

The highest point in Seaside, Oregon in the 1920s.

Learn More
Hot Spots

Just like the windswept Oregon coastline itself, Seaside is ever-changing. While embracing traditional attractions like the Promen...

Learn More
Top Things to Do With Teens

Traveling with too-cool-for-school teens? I feel you. I have two teenagers myself. But be assured, you’ll find plenty of totally...

Learn More
Color Now Bursting on the Coast

Pick up a colorful bouquet of summer dahlias at roadside stands along Highway 101 and other coast highways

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 Art Scene

Seaside is well-known for its scenic coastline, color-drenched sunsets and abundant natural beauty, but this coastal town has an a...

Learn More
View from the Hotel Seaside

A view from the old Hotel Seaside in the mid 1920s

Learn More
The Pull of Progress – Seaside in 1921

Postwar Seaside saw a boom in growth and development.

Learn More
Read These Oregon Coast Page-Turners

A good book and the beach — there may be no better combination. Opened in 2005, Beach Books is a local institution where you ca...

Learn More
Seaside Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
We’re Getting Crabby on the Coast

Dungeness crab season on the Oregon coast

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
Find a Beach Path Less Traveled By

A Sunday stroll along the beach at 12th Avenue in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Children feed the Harbor Seals at the Seaside Aquarium in Seaside, Oregon.
How to Seaside Inside

Don’t get us wrong: Plenty of beach lovers come to Seaside in the cooler, drizzlier months to enjoy the great outdoors. That’s...

Learn More
Customer Service and the Bottom Line

As we prepare for a new year and our annual Customer Service Awards Program, we visit the question that most business owners are f...

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
Salt Making in Seaside

A little history about the Salt Works; on December 28, 1805 the Lewis and Clark sent five men to establish a salt camp. Five days later, they found an ideal place on the seacoast fifteen miles southwest of Fort Clatsop (the seawater had a high salt content here, and game and wood were abundant).

Learn More
Boogie Nights

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

Learn More