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Meet Our Community: Tamara Paulat, blogger and native plant gardener

Let’s get to know each other!

Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week we’re introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Tamara Paulat

My blog Chickadee Gardens is all about our adventure of gardening on two acres outside of Portland, Oregon, with an emphasis on native plants and sustainability. My husband, David Pinson, and I started from scratch 5 years ago on this land and have since created a large dry garden, a shade garden, shrub gardens, and a rather decent-sized veggie patch and orchard. We also raise chickens and honeybees. We want to share our experiences with interested people who can help us along the way and people we can help. It’s a community after all, and growing things is a healing practice. Also, I work for Joy Creek Nursery and have access to a bazillion interesting plants. OK, hundreds.

I’m into native plants and drought-tolerant gardens that can also handle our wet winters. I love sweeps of plants harmonizing with their surroundings and enticing wildlife to visit – like the annual gorging of echinacea seeds by goldfinches, and the sunflowers by chickadees and blue jays. I love seeing plants grow and change in different lighting throughout the seasons, and I find beauty in every season.

Arctostaphylos ‘St. Helena’, my favorite plant, is a beautiful evergreen manzanita with rounded silvery green leaves, pretty flowers, and a beefy trunk with exfoliating bark. It needs no summer water and is native to the West Coast. I live in Saint Helens, so the name fits too. It has a gorgeous presence in the garden year-round. My three are 8 to 10 ft. tall and add the best structure to my dry gardens.

I love the garden of my boss, Maurice, and his partner – 10 acres of incredible vistas on an island in the Columbia River. Formal clipped hedges form the core, and it gradually dissolves into wild bliss and the Multnomah Channel beyond. It’s an example of gardening with nature, reflecting the plant palette of my region. The wildlife they encourage is exceptional, and the blend of plant material (he’s a nursery owner after all) is superb. It’s a foliage-first garden with many “wow” factors including fabulous stonework using indigenous stone, a fern berm from felled poplar trees, and mown paths through several acres of field grass that encourage a journey and quiet contemplation.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Tamara! You can follow Tamara on her blog Chickadee Gardens, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Tamara Paulat.


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