Monday, February 21

Portland Style

There definitely is a district Portland Gardening Style going on here. First, I must tell you that everyone seems to be into gardening here. Young or old, it does not matter. Everyone is an expert gardener. Here are some things that are noticeable about the Portland gardening style:

1.Gardens are a mix of vegetables, flowers and even tropical plants.

2.Portlanders take pride in growing unusual plants that are not known to grow in Pacific North West Climates. I have seen Palm trees and all sorts of tropical plants that seem to survive the winters here.

3.Portland style is, to put it politely, slightly messy. No tidy gardens here. Some people even believe in leaving weeds in place.

4.Tree lawn gardens rule here. Portlanders just take over the tree lawn, you know that space besides the road. You will find vegetable gardens, rose gardens and even seating right next to the road.

5.This is not the place for garden gnomes and other cutesy garden ornaments. Asian and modern art in the garden are the norm. Everyone is an artist here and many make their own garden art. You will also see many plastic toys like soldiers or toy soldiers. Don’t ask, it is a Portland thing.

6.Looking for a nice green lawn? Look again. You won’t find much of that. Most people replace their lawn with plants and vegetables gardens.

7.Portland is obsessed with watering their gardens. Evident by the most in-ground sprinkler systems which I have ever seen. Coming from a Midwest gardening background I want to shout “why do you need to water when it rains every day here.”  There must be a good reason that the sprinklers are on even on a rainy days here.

Livestock in the urban garden?

8.Yes, you were not imagining that that you saw chickens in the garden. Portlanders have a right to a certain amount of chickens per person. They roam around neighborhood gardens and occasionally can be found on the sidewalk.

9.Gardening all year round? Yes, it is possible here. The ground never freezes, so most plants don’t die. It is always green in Portland even in the winter.

10.Green mature ground covers are popular here, especially red clover, which is planted in the fall and hoe back into the ground come spring. My first impression was that it was a waste of time, as I am used to a cold climate where the ground freezes and nothing grows. Gardening here, I have began to realize that without ground covers, the good stuff in the soil would just wash away. It rains almost every day here from late November to late February. It is a great organic way to replace nutrients to the soil.
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