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A scenic 90 minute drive from Portland delivers you to Seaside Oregon’s doorstep. Seaside overflows with attractions that make it a popular tourist town, and I would go so far as saying there is something here for everyone, including gardeners.

Rides are limited only by your imagination

Typically, I take to the three miles of delicious clean sand and clouds that wander in and out of crashing waves. This is where the sandcastles, pooches, surf boarders and dreamers gather. Other folks prefer neater experiences and log their miles along the town’s well-manicured two mile boardwalk, which is where you also find a favorite family haunt, The Seaside Aquarium. The carousel, bumper cars, salt water taffy, cotton candy and a wide variety of vibrant shops are only moments from the boardwalk. So park the kids on a carousel animal and remember to indulge your own inner child.

Recently I visited Seaside during June and again in August for the town’s First Saturday Art Walk. My good friend, Susan Effenberger, of Lemon Bird Studio, was the featured guest artist in June at The Natural Nook ~ a lively gift and floral shop tucked along Seaside’s Broadway Street. August found Susan at the delightful Beach Books where patrons also greet the stores hassock loving 19 pound cat. A brief glance around this ocean front town was a quick reminder that it had been too long since I explored the activities and shops in the heart of Seaside. Everything was bold, fun . . . and unfamiliar. I immediately set off to explore.

The first thing I noted?  There are no parking meters in town! Then I found myself face to face with blooming islands of vivid flowers complete with a garden structure for seating ~ such a thoughtful touch for weary shoppers and families! A casual stroll revealed many more of these tranquil beauties. Pocket garden sanctuaries are tucked into small spaces all over town ~ next to shops, along bridges, some even grace all four corners of what was once just a typical intersection.

Fun awaits the entire family at this All-American seaside town

Clouds yeild to sunshine at Seaside's turn-around

The Natural Nook participates in monthly art walks

Pamphlets are available to guide you on a walking tour of these tiny gardens that long to be admired both on and off Broadway and the main streets. For you more adventurous souls, rent a pedal car ~ perfect for cruising pocket gardens as well as the oceanfront. Here are photos of a few pocket gardens I discovered while seeking out Norma’s famous Clam Chowder. (I am not the only one who prefers this flavorful chowder over the famous clams ladled out at Mo’s, and a slice of Norma’s peanut butter pie should top off your dining experience. Don’t let the line out front deter you. It moves quickly.)

The Pocket Garden outside Norma's

Seaside Pocket Garden at a bridge approach

An inviting rest stop makes shopping a pleasure

Teens exploring Seaside canal by rental boat

Wonderful color and textures fill Seaside's streets

Tip: Pocket gardens can be planted in any dead space that can hold as little as one cup of soil. You can creatively plant spaces between tree roots, stepping-stones, cracks in walls. Plan for color and let texture contrast between plants and the surfaces that surround your pocket garden. Imagine the pocket with trailing and flowering plants. Add structure and seating if you have larger areas like they have along Seaside’s streets.

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