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Meet Kate Bodin and Learn about PBG

kate bodin portland botanical gardens
Meet Kate Bodin, Executive Director of Portland Botanical Gardens, recently-retired instructor of horticulture at Portland Community College, and Registered Horticultural Therapist. kate bodin
Kate gardens in Portland in USDA Zone 8b, Sunset Zone 6. Additionally, Kate shared the plans for PBG in an online program which you can view below.

What garden trends am I embracing in the future?

I’m currently moving away from as much irrigation as possible and using more climate appropriate plants. It’s a long process and I may never completely give up some of my water hogging plants, but I’m in the midst of having the lawn and sunburned rhododendrons removed from the front of our house where the afternoon sun (and heat dome) is so unforgiving. I’ll be re-landscaping with some pretty amazing plants that will thrive in our climate.

My garden(s) are actually rather small and I have no full shade currently. I moved to this house in 2012 and have turned about 2/3rds of the front and back yards into gardens, with the rest of the grass being demolished as I mention above. Because I taught the Summer Annuals and Perennials Plant ID class at PCC Rock Creek for several years (retiring after last summer), many of the plants in my gardens are those that I taught. The plants are constantly shifting in and out as I learn the idiosyncrasies of the soil and micro-climate. I’ve probably dug up and given away more plants than remain in the garden – it’s a constant flow in and out, as any gardener well knows.

Front perennial border in early August. Photo credit Kate Bodin.

What are my favorite gardening resources?

It’s hard to choose just one! First I ask Sean Hogan at Cistus Nursery of course, because I see him so often through our work at PBG. But I also refer to, and Great Plant Picks, as well as eGardenGo which has great combinations of PNW plants.

Bearded iris season (May) in the front border. Photo credit Kate Bodin.

How did I become interested in gardening?

When I was a child growing up in Massachusetts my mother grew her veggie starts from seed for the relatively short growing season. Ever since I was young I’ve had some form of garden, or containers during the apartment years. Mom always loved flowers as well – so from a very young age I had a particular fondness for the beauty of my mom’s garden. She had a gigantic deep purple bearded iris that I wish I could locate and put in my own garden…I can still remember the fragrance.

Introducing Portland Botanical Gardens:

Portland Botanical Gardens is a public garden in the making. PBG will cultivate a community where people connect, discover, and celebrate the beauty, strength, and resilience of plants. Imagine a place that offers the opportunity to connect to our natural world and a platform for the study of our planet’s diverse flora and the effects humans have on it.

July perennials and grasses in the front border. Photo credit Kate Bodin.

When do I hope that people will be able to visit PBG?

We’ll know the answer to that better when we’ve settled on a site which we hope to announce this year. Hopefully within a year or so of that, we’ll be able to hold programming and events on site, even before we build conservatories.

Learn more about PBG in this program:

How can people become involved with PBG?

We’re looking for all sorts of volunteers these days. While we’re looking for land, we’re focused on developing programming and education in particular, as well as hosting a number of events that we would love help with. We’re also looking for sponsors for events, board members, donors and investors. You can email me at Please visit our website and scroll down to the bottom right where you can sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Overview of the front garden in August. Photo credit Kate Bodin.

Thanks for sharing, Kate!

You can get to know Kate on social media on her Instagram @katesgardenpdx and Facebook. Find out more about Portland Botanical Gardens on their Instagram @pdxbot and Facebook.


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One response to “Meet Kate Bodin and Learn about PBG”

  1. Ree Hawkins says:

    Can’t wait to see this new garden

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