Whether you’ve got a windowsill, a pot or a whole garden plot, it’s that time of year when sowing seeds and planting bulbs is calling. We’ve found a variety of spots for kids to get their garden on with kid-friendly classes and planting activities at local public gardens, nurseries and shops. Read on for the dirt.
photo: Jason Mulcahy via flickr
Al’s Garden Center
Are your little ones itching to learn how to grow strawberries, edible rainbow gardens and colorful blooms for Mother’s Day? Simply register for Al’s Garden Center Kids’ Club and they’ll be planting, potting and getting their hands dirty in no time. Each class introduces a theme and a gardening project for your tykes to take home—and with locations in Gresham, Sherwood and Woodburn, Al’s adds a dose of convenience to any gardening education.
Hours: Days and times vary by location and can be found online.
Al’s Garden Center of Gresham
7505 SE Hogan Rd.
Al’s Garden Center of Sherwood
16920 SW Roy Rogers Rd.
Al’s Garden Center of Woodburn
1220 N Pacific Hwy.
Think of the terrarium as the ultimate party favor—and one that your kids can joyfully build at Artemisia. The shop’s friendly staff are always eager to help children through the process, and they supply the sand, rocks, moss, plants and other small treasures of nature. The store even hosts terrarium-making birthday parties for $22-$35 per child, sending each one home with some new gardening know-how and a unique creation to display around the house.
Hours: Anytime during operating hours: everyday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
110 SE 28th Ave.
photo: Michel Curl via flickr
Green thumbs between the ages of five and 10 will feel right at home with the Garden Buddies at Farmington Gardens, a family-owned Beaverton nursery that first opened in 1994. For a small fee that covers containers, soil and plants, your kids can participate in regular gardening activities and classes, such as spring terrarium-making. Just remember that each child must be accompanied by an adult and ready to learn some fascinating facts about how plants eat, drink and breathe.
Hours: dates and time vary and can be found online.
21815 SW Farmington Rd.
Leach Botanical Garden
Open to the public since 1983, the Leach Botanical Garden is a quiet urban respite that protects nearly 2,000 species of plants on the former estate of John and Lilla Leach. Children will find special enjoyment in exploring the grounds with Honeybee Hikes, a weekly series of guided excursions that allow kids to spot wildlife, visit the bees, work in the Children’s Discovery Garden, listen to stories and make crafts to take home. All you’ll need is a pair of walking shoes and $3 per child (ages 2-5 accompanied by an adult) to tour this 17-acre expanse.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Leach Botanical Garden
6704 SE 122nd Ave.
With 80 acres and 20 specialty gardens that showcase plants and flowers from the Willamette Valley and the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Garden is a delight in every season. But the highlight for kids is the whimsical Children’s Garden, where they can dig up dinosaur bones, visit animal-shaped topiaries and let their imaginations run wild in the Hobbit house. The Oregon Garden’s Junior Gardeners Club is also open to all ages, offering regular events that focus on the outdoors, gardening, arts and crafts and community awareness.
Cost: Adults $12, Seniors $10 Kids (5-11) $6, Free for kids 4 and under
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.- 6p.m.
879 W Main St.
photo: Jessica Lucia via flickr
Portland Community Gardens
Do you love to tend your own plants but lack the necessary yard space at home? Consider renting a plot from Portland Parks and Recreation and grow your own fruits and vegetables in one of the city’s 51 community gardens. Simply submit a garden plot request form to the city, which assigns plots on a first-come, first-served basis beginning each February. You may get the immediate go-ahead or be added to a waiting list—either way, you’ll soon be teaching your kids how to plant, nurture and grow their own food.
Cost: Cost varies and can be found online or call for more info.
Portland Community Gardens
Locations across the city
Portland Parks & Recreation
A longtime leader in urban farming, sustainability and environmental stewardship, Zenger Farm is famous throughout Portland for its educational workshops and community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. But did you know that the farm offers a variety of camps and activities for children as well? During the five-day Spring Break Camp, K-6th graders will make nature-inspired crafts, explore wetlands, dig in garden beds and cook produce fresh from the fields. Summer camps are also available.
Cost: Spring break camps cost $60/day, summer camps cost $295/week (scholorships are available)
Hours: Spring and summer break camps run from 8:45 a.m.-3 p.m.
11741 SE Foster Rd.
Where in Portland do you indulge your green thumb? Let us know in the comments below!
— Maura O’Brien