Gardening - SymbiOp (Michael Raines)

Everyone Can Garden in the Pacific Northwest

Let’s dig in.

It’s the thick of spring, the prime time to get plants in the ground and watch them unfurl with the warming days. But gardening’s a funny thing—it can be a little intimidating, a hobby for the natural-born green thumbs of the world or wealthy retirees with open afternoons.

No shade on either, but that’s not the only way to garden.

Everyone can and should be getting their hands in the earth. Studies have shown the potential health benefits of green care are ample, ranging from less anxiety and depression to lower blood pressure and eased muscle tension. It’s good to garden, and fortunately we happen to live in a plant paradise. Just look around and notice how Portland is viridescent with leaves and buds.

Feeling nervous about trying it out? Have the blackberries eaten up your garden beds? Don’t have much of a yard in the first place? Whether you’re a homeowner working with a Cully lot’s-worth of garden space or renting a sweet spot with a porch stoop or balcony you can line with a few plants, there’s always room to enjoy a little gardening. (Warning: Your thumb might start to glow a Kryptonite color—just roll with it.)

We at WW have put together a little guide on how to approach your garden this year. Think of it as lenses to look through when taking a peek into Portland’s many options for plants. What kind of garden are you interested in? (We’re not just talking about produce or flowers.) Are you looking to cultivate an all-native-plants backyard or put whatever’s affordable in the ground? Though there are many, many ways to go about this, we offer four types of garden approaches, featuring some of our favorite shops in the area.

You’ve got options, whether you want to stop by SymbiOp and learn how one cute pollinator can feed an entire chain of species or pop over to Sauvie Island and see Cistus’ thousands of native and Mediterranean plants. There’s also Garden Fever! where you can grab all your gardening goods for a potted balcony garden (and even a candle for the indoor vibes), or head to Parkrose Hardware and stock up on sale starters for your yard.

These aren’t hard and fast rules. You can mix and match what you choose to take from these stellar spots. Each will help you build a sweet garden of any size. You might kill a couple of plants along the way-—that’s OK. Let those leaves sink into the earth to feed what comes next.

The most important thing: go put your hands in the dirt.

Robin Bacior, WW Arts & Culture Editor.

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