Seaside Stories

Pocket Garden Walking Tour

June 14, 2019 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

When you walk down Broadway Street, you notice the patches of flowers planted along the sidewalk — all bursting with color, no matter the season. These gardens and the accompanying tree canopy give downtown Seaside an inviting charm. What’s less obvious is the story that each of these so-called pocket gardens tells.

The author of those stories is Pamela Fleming, owner of Nature’s Helper, a local landscape company. She and her staff of two are responsible for the design and ongoing care of more than a hundred pocket gardens in Seaside along Holladay Drive and Columbia Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue, as well as along Broadway. There is a rhyme and reason for every annual, every perennial, every herb and every grass that Fleming has meticulously chosen to plant.

To give you a glimpse of Fleming’s wisdom and whimsy, we invite you to take a walking tour of Seaside’s pocket gardens. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to plant a little something when you return home.

As you depart the Visitors Bureau at Highway 101 and Broadway, cross the highway and walk down Broadway Street toward the ocean. You’ll be strolling through the historic Gilbert District, the oldest part of Seaside.

 

The Maroon Garden

In front of 734 Broadway

Once the site of the First State Bank, the building at 734 Broadway has maintained its stately facade. Fleming chose purple asters, plum heuchera and burgundy dianthus for this pocket garden to play off the building’s maroon trim. It’s one of several examples where Fleming has drawn inspiration from a building’s color palette to create a garden to complement its surroundings.

    

The Apothecary Garden

In front of Beach Books

As you walk west, you’ll come to Beach Books on the corner of Broadway and North Holladay Drive. Years ago, this location was the site of Seaside’s drugstore. Paying homage to the previous occupant, Fleming planted a garden of plants that not only are attractive but have medicinal properties, such as salix, a willow whose leaves can be soaked to make a tonic to relieve pain and fever, and witch hazel, widely known for easing inflammation and soothing sensitive skin. You’ll even find the showy phygelius used in voodoo medicine.

    

The Tavern Garden

In front of Bridge Tender Tavern

Fleming continues her themed gardens just over the bridge in front of the Bridge Tender Tavern. Here you’ll see a wine-colored smoke tree with tobacco planted at its base. Look carefully to spot nigella, nicknamed Love-in-a-Mist, which Fleming jokes can be found in a tavern. And she’s planted thyme because “that’s what you lose if you stay in a bar for too long.”

 

The Edible Gardens

In front of Dooger’s & Pig ’N Pancake

Much of what you see planted in the pocket garden in front of Dooger’s Seafood & Grill actually is edible, including Cuban oregano, lavender, parsley, rosemary and viola flowers. At Pig ’N Pancake, the menu expands to include blueberries, melissa lemon balm, lovage (tastes like celery), sanguisorba (tastes like cucumber) and borage, a blue star-like flower that can be used in salads, desserts or cocktails (again, tastes like cucumber). If you’re not sure what’s what, pick a small leaf, rub it between your fingers and then smell it.

 

The Asian Garden

In front of China Collection

The building at the corner of Broadway and North Edgewood Street, across from Dooger’s, used to look much different. It had a red roof, similar to those in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Fleming turned its pocket garden into an Asian garden with a focus on texture — a coastal pine, boxwoods, grasses and rock. While the red roof is gone, the building does house an Asian gift shop.

 

The Chocolate Garden

In front of Phillips Candies

Granted, you really need to know your plants to pick up on Fleming’s decadent chocolate garden just to the side of Phillips Candies — chocolate geraniums, coco grass, chocolate cosmos and stewartia, a tree with a striking brown bark. Sorry, no sampling here!

    

The Seaview Garden

At the Turnaround

As you approach the ocean, you’ll notice that the pocket gardens change. The plants have a lower profile to survive the strong winds, and they’re naturally resilient to salt air. At the Turnaround, you’ll find a pocket garden tucked between the Seaside sign and the statue of Lewis and Clark. Here heathers of all different colors create a rich tapestry, and bright-pink sea thrifts add pops of color. Make sure to take a photo at what’s arguably Seaside’s most Instagrammed location.

 

    

 

and so much more!

Postcards from the Past

Ancient postcards from Seaside's distant past

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
Hiking Saddle Mountain is one of our four favorite hikes around Seaside.
4 Favorite Hikes Around Town

The sheer variety of trails in and around Seasie Oregon means you have plenty of hiking options, from kid-friendly strolls on the Prom to more strenuous climbs with stunning views.

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
Family Magazine: Vacation 101

A look at family fun activities on the North Oregon Coast

Learn More
Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
Seaside Skatepark

The Seaside Skatepark (also called the PTR “Hometown Park”) has a unique history. It was opened in June of 2007, and was built by Placed to Ride. The owner of Placed to Ride, Stefan Hauser, lives here in Seaside.

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
The Iron Horse Comes to Town

A look at the train that connected Seaside to Portland in 1898

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
Seaside Nightlife

Above photo: A group enjoys some live music in a photo by Don Frank. Some visitors come to Seaside for the beach, some for the att...

Learn More
Seaside’s Famous Feathered Citizens

First two weekends of April are filled with bird education

Learn More
From Arcade to Aquarium: 8 Things To Do When It’s Raining In Seaside

When it rains, you’ll have plenty to do in Seaside, Oregon. Photo: Rupert Britton Our charming oceanfront town is, after all, in...

Learn More
Gone Fishin’

You know you’re in Seaside when . . . this sentence can be completed in numerous ways. Today I’ll finish it with: . . . you see a guy walking down the road in tall rubber boots, fishing pole in one hand, long silvery fish dangling from the other.

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
Gayway Park in the early 1960s

GAyway Park in the 1960s was a major family attraction in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
The Daddy Train

The Seaside train depot was the major transportation hub before 1938.

Learn More
Living with Cooler Temperatures

Analyzing the weather in Seaside

Learn More