Gaining Ground

Betsy Cross was feeling overwhelmed with all of the goals she and her partner, Will, had for the backyard of their St. Johns home. “I wanted it to be an oasis,” says Cross. So she contacted Nicole Spencer of Noble Root, a full-service, Portland-based garden consultancy with expertise in coaching clients toward confidence in their gardens. The company helped the couple reconfigure several spaces within the backyard, including a side area that had previously had some pots with annuals and perennials. It became a full kitchen garden with edibles that would also look beautiful while climbing next to a fence. “Plants are really resilient,” Cross says. “I learned that you don’t have to be so precious with the process — that it’s great to just get my hands dirty and learn as I go.”