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!

An Adventure to Share

A winning family vacation in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Digging for the Bounty!

Razor clamming on Oregon

Learn More
The Best Part of Waking Up

Delicious breakfast dining at favorite Seaside local hot spots.

Learn More
Bell Buoy of Seaside offers fresh seafood and features ready-to-eat items in an adjacent restaurant.
Can’t-Miss Dungeness Crab Eats

It’s a short journey from ocean to plate in Seaside, especially when it comes to Oregon’s official crustacean: the delectable ...

Learn More
Fall in Seaside

Experiencing the changing seasons in Seaside

Learn More
Episode Four: the Seaside Museum & Butterfield Cottage

Audio walking tour of the Seaside Museum & Butterfield Cottage

Learn More
Drilling in Seaside

World War I soldiers drilling on Seaside's beach.

Learn More
Family Magazine: Vacation 101

A look at family fun activities on the North Oregon Coast

Learn More
Crabbing at the 12th Avenue Bridge

The inside scoop on catching your dinner in Seaside.

Learn More
Pypo Boarding and Seaside’s Role in the Unique Pastime

You’ve probably heard of skimboarding and kiteboarding, but here’s a fun fact: both sports stem from a unique pastime called p...

Learn More
Lookout on Neahkahnie Mountain

Sometimes an Oregon Coast outdoor adventure doesn

Learn More
A group of women prepare to learn surfing in Oswald West State Park. Photo by Justin Bailie.
New Year, New Adventures

Instead of starting the new year by committing to breaking bad habits — and then forgetting that you even made the resolution ...

Learn More
A Year in Seaside – Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall Tips

While Seaside is an enduring summertime destination, our beach town increasingly draws visitors to its sandy shores throughout the...

Learn More
Sweets in Seaside

Confections conjure up memories of visits to Seaside Oregon as a child.

Learn More
Crabbing & Clamming as Seasiders Do

“How have you lived here this long and never crabbed?” That’s the question I kept asking my friends and gracious hosts in Se...

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
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
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