A Northwest garden weekend
Urban homesteading in North Portland, OR
Jon Jensen

Why go in spring: The North Portland urban homesteading season starts this month: Baby chicks are in, seed racks are up, garden workshops are starting.

Main drag: North Mississippi Avenue

Best place for plant lovers: Pistils Nursery (pictured), the neighborhood’s go-to spot for chickens, ornamental plants, beehives, terrariums, and garden design.

Or planet lovers: You can find curbed streetside planters that hold roof runoff (until it infiltrates the water table) in front of the ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages (3625 N. Mississippi Ave.; 503/331-1877) and the Blue Gardenia Bakery & Coffee Roasters (3747 N. Mississippi Ave.; 503/460-2583).

Sugar fix: Flavour Spot ($; N. Mississippi Ave. at N. Fremont St.; 503/282-9866) is famous for its scrumptious Dutch tacos (waffle sandwiches).


  • Garden Fever:
    Portlanders love this garden center’s full line of plants, containers, ornaments, hats, gloves, and tools. In spring, come for sustainably grown vegetable seedlings, bulk soil amendments, and locally grown perennials. 3433 N.E. 24th Ave.; 503/287-3200.
  • The ReBuilding Center of Our United Villages:
    A warehouse full of all things recycled: lumber, tiles, windows, tubs, and furniture made from repurposed wood. Every piece has potential for resourceful gardeners― think sunrooms, cold frames, and garden sheds. 3625 N. Mississippi Ave.; 503/331-1877.
  • Lorenzo’s:
    Refuel after a day of plant hunting with baked gnocchi and a Caesar salad, or maybe just a cappuccino and tiramisu. Chefowner Lorenzo Daliana adapted most of the restaurant’s menu from family recipes, which he tweaked to work with fresh local ingredients. $; closed Sun; 3807 N. Mississippi Ave.; 503/284-6200.
  • Great collectibles:
    Three collectibles shops on North Mississippi Avenue will beef up their garden stock this month. Expect anything: tools, bird cages, fading signs. Look for Bella Norte (3978 N. Mississippi; 503/288-8823), Porch Light (3972 N. Mississippi; 503/288-8773), and Flutter (3948 N. Mississippi; 503/288-1649).
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