Got a little dirt under your nails? Have a need to pluck weeds and water flowers? If so, there’s probably a gardener growing in you! img_0321-cropped

Portland gardeners recognize constant rain as an ideal growing climate for gardens of all sizes and shapes. Look around. Seems like everyone either wants to start or spend more time in a garden for good reason. Gardening grounds us. Clears our brains. Expresses our creativity. Gives us solitude. And makes us patient.

If you’re a boomer gardener or want-to-be, it’s time to unearth gloves and shovels, and get to the garden of your choice. Portland is garden friendly to beginners and experts alike – gardeners love to share their knowledge.

Start by venturing out to see all of the luscious gardens that bless our area (and beyond). Then bring your inspiration back in photographs to start applying those ideas to your own yard, containers or balcony.

Enjoy Public and Demonstration Gardens
Gather inspiration by wandering through colorful rose gardens in Portland’s Washington Park, Ladd’s Addition, Peninsula Park, or Vancouver’s Esther Short Park. Area gardens range from the expansive Oregon Gardens south of Portland to exquisite Japanese and Chinese Gardens, to native species in Hoyt Arboretum and Leach Botanical Gardens.

Several area demonstration gardens offer the latest on new plants, trees, and growing techniques. You’ll find sites that focus on fruit growing, organic gardening, and gardens as wildlife habitat, as well as techniques to manage factors such as water usage, soil enhancement, and safety.

See Public and Demonstration Gardens listing by counties, including links to volunteer contacts and friends groups.

Volunteer at a Public Garden
All public gardens need and welcome volunteers of all skill levels and interests. Great for beginners! Tasks range from hands-on planting, weeding, and mulching, to helping out at special events, or working in gift shops, or office. You can show up at one-time work parties or join others in ongoing year-round maintenance. Some branch out into community projects. For example, volunteer gardeners at the Portland Japanese Gardens help out in a school program engaging underserved youth.

See Public and Demonstration Gardens listing by counties, including links to volunteer contacts and friends groups.

Community Gardens
If you lack garden space, consider renting a plot in a neighborhood community garden. Most communities offer residents plots, and various gardening equipment and services for gardeners. Many offer classes, gardening tips, and expert help from volunteer and master gardeners.rosie-scarecrow-public-gardens

On the community service side, garders volunteer their talents to help low income grow their own food, or volunteer time in food growing orchards and gardens which donate fresh food to food banks.

See Community Gardens listing and links by county.

Garden Clubs
To get the real dirt on gardening, try a garden club. Garden clubs are a fun, social way to learn and share information and enhance the beauty of your community. Garden clubs sponsor regular guest speakers, workshops, plant shows, plant sales and exchanges, and garden tours. Some clubs offer scholarships for aspiring horticulturalists as well as donate goods and time to local charities.

Members also maintain flower beds in their cities, and encourage the appreciation of wildflowers, birds, and insects and the wise use of natural resources. Moreover members share the fellowship of like-minded men and women.

See Garden Clubs listing by county including links to find one in your community.

Gardening Classes, Workshops, and Seminars
Where ever you find gardens and gardeners, you’ll discover low- or no-cost classes, seminars and workshops. Where? Garden clubs, public gardens and community gardens. Even local nurseries and garden centers get involved.

Contact a garden club. Many open their classes to the public. Community gardens also sponsor classes for those who want a healthy, thriving, and successful planting.

See Gardening Classes, Workshops and Seminars for places to learn more about gardening.

Green Thumb Meet-up Groups
Boomer gardeners should check out Meetup groups. Meetups are formed by individuals around a common or multiple interests, in this case, gardening. Joining is either free or inexpensive and gives you on-line access to the meet-up’s scheduled activities.

Examples of gardening Meetups are

  • Clark County Gardening
  • NW Home Gardening
  • Abba’s Gardening
  • Urban Bees and Gardeners.

Meetups come, go and change. To find what’s current, go to Meetup.com, enter your city, then your interest such as gardening, bees, roses, etc. The meet-up website describes the activity or interest, who it is appropriate for, time/date of meetings and activities, and what part of town it’s located in. Sign up and show up.