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A pot for a garden

This year's biggest gardening trend will likely be planted in pots
by: Jaime Valdez, John Karsseboom owner of The Garden Corner in Tualatin, shows an example of container gardening with a basket of acorus ogon. Karsseboom, along with other nursery owners in the area, is displaying trends for the season at Bridgeport Village Bloomfest.

TUALATIN - Everything seems to be getting smaller in the gardening world this season. But local nursery owners say that's actually a good thing.

The trend of smaller gardens could mean more people can start eyeing their tiny lawns and envisioning dwarf shrubs and unique perennials scattered in pots large and small.

The trend is called container gardening. And as John Karsseboom, owner of The Garden Corner in Tualatin, noted, the new trend 'takes out the labor of gardening and focuses on the fun.'

'To convince a high-paced society to stop and plant the roses, that's always a challenge,' Karsseboom noted.

But with the rise of the potted garden, a hobby like gardening which is usually enjoyed by those with a passion for crawling through the dirt and pulling weeds can be done just about anywhere, Karsseboom said.

Maureen Larsen, owner of Larsen Farm Nursery on Stafford Road outside of Wilsonville, explained the popularity of the trend simply as 'small yards, small containers.'

Vibrant colorful pots give homeowners with limited lawn space a way to break into the garden hobby, Larsen said. Portland-area homeowners are even creating 'garden rooms' in their homes where they can keep container gardens, she added.

And while the gardening season hasn't officially begun - the busiest months for nurseries are usually April and May - Brian Schiffer at Farmington Gardens in Beaverton said the nursery market is starting to see a lot more common and decorative shrubs shrunk down in size.

The dwarf foliage and the surge of interesting and unique pots - like planters made in Vietnam offered at Larsen Farms Nursery and pots made from Fiberglas, resin, terracotta, fiberstone and other materials offered at The Garden Corner - are showing that the container trend is fast becoming popular.

Even with the season's earliest sales of spring flowers, the potted ones went fast.

'Anything in a pot has pretty much been sold,' said Kelli Mihalko, residential designer for Tru Green Land Care in Tigard. Mihalko said she and others had to scour the Portland area in search of potted tulips to include in the company's Bloomfest display at the Bridgeport Village shopping center.

Nurseries including The Garden Corner, Larsen Farm Nurery, Farmington Gardens and the land care company Tru Green will each have colorful garden displays at the shopping center to show off some of the newest plants and flowers to be introduced this season.

This is the first year for Bloomfest at Bridgeport, which centers on a nine-day Tulip Festival that starts today (Thursday) and runs through Saturday, April 7.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has teamed up with the shopping center to offer bundles of 10 tulips for $5 during Bloomfest. All proceeds from the tulip sales go to the Easter Seals of Oregon, which helps children with disabilities.

Bridgeport storefronts will also be decorated with tulips. Each store will be vying for votes from shoppers in a friendly competition for the best-decorated window.

Nursery owners labored on their displays Monday and Tuesday putting the finishing touches on their sites.

And under gray skies and looming rain clouds, Larsen was still excited about the color to be presented in her display.

But she admitted that even with the forecast of a new gardening trend, gray skies are usually enough to deter the more unseasoned gardener.

'Gardening is totally driven by weather,' she noted. 'If it's nice, people come shopping (for gardening supplies). If it's pouring down rain, they go to the movies.'