Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Other Side Nursery opens tomorrow!

One of my favorite Portland plant people is opening his own shop and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you. My friend Nanthawat (Nat) is an extremely generous human, as well as an incredibly knowledgeable—yet also very humble—plant person. I am so excited for the rest of Portland to get to know him through his new shop The Other Side Nursery...

Nat invited me to check out the new digs prior to opening day, so I have a few photos to share with you. I also talked him into answering a few questions, because I think the story behind a venture such as this is rather fascinating, I hope you agree. 

Here's the building where his shop is located, it's entrance is roughly in front of the blue car. 

Here we are at the door...

And here's the first of the Q&A:

I asked Nat if he could tell us about something I read that he had said, about making "plants available for everyone"—here's his reply: "About 15 years ago when the plant bug bit me I remember being able to visit various nurseries and leaving with a car full of plants without being concerned about having enough money for food for the following week. I want to be able to bring that experience to the larger community; to share it with new and long-term enthusiasts alike. There is also a big imbalance with the amount of plant shops found on the west side vs the east side of I-205 [in Portland]—I want to help fill in that gap."

What type of plants will The Other Side shop focus on? "With our current location, and given the limited amount of space we have to work with, we’ll be focusing on tropical plants that are easy to grow in a standard home. We won’t be dipping too far into the "trendy hot houseplant" market. I find it to be stressful keeping up with the hype and I've seen what kind of madness it can bring; I want people to be successful with their plants without burning a hole in their wallet. In the future, when we have more space, especially some outdoor space, we want to get into everything the plant world has to offer. Nothing too specific really; it's all good."

You've been running a mail order nursery for a while now, what have you learned there that has influenced your inventory at the retail shop? "I've learned that just because I like a certain plant, doesn't mean that everyone will. There was a time I acquired a hundred qty of a specific plant, thinking that it would sell within a week, but I only ended up selling seven over the next five months. I’ve also learned that just because I think something is "basic" doesn't mean people won't like it! For example, one of my best-selling plants are Parlor Palms! [Chamaedorea elegans] Never assume what people will be into, never assume what might be popular, and never assume that you can sell all one hundred Arthrostemma parvifolium in a week... maybe start with ten. Hah! So to wrap up, I learned to have a healthy variety of plants, and carry plants I might not find interesting because someone out there might be madly in love with them."

What days and hours will you be open? "We will be open 10am-7pm everyday except Thursdays. We might extend the store hours during the summer and for the busy holiday season. We may open on random Thursdays and close early during certain holidays. If you're looking for expert advice, come on Saturdays and Sundays, that's when I will be there for sure!"

The Other Side has a small, but well curated selection of containers...

A couple more questions:

What's the first plant you remember buying for yourself and how old were you? (Sorry, dorky question, but I couldn't not ask) "The very first plant I remember buying for myself is a Crassula ovata from a dollar store. I don't know if it qualifies as buying my own plant, since I was 9 or 10 and it was my parent's money. The first plant that I purchased with my own money was a Syngonium podophyllum when I was 15ish. I remember because I was very excited to show my superstitious Thai mom. In Thai, Syngonium podophyllums are called "เงินไหลมา" ("Gnuhn-Lai-Mah") which translates to "Money Flowing Towards Me/Us", so the belief is that when you have this plant, money will flow towards you. Needless to say, she was thrilled, but I must have had it facing the wrong way because money did not come flowing towards us."

What's your favorite genus? "This is a very hard question to answer but I always find myself stopping for opuntia. I've spent years being smitten with thousands of various genera, but I always find myself coming back to Opuntia."

I was so focused on the plants here that I didn't manage to get a good shot of the front of the pot, where the name and price is, but that's something I want to point out. These are not "asst succulents"! Nat has taken the time to accurately label every plant with it's botanical Latin name. That's impressive! 

For example this isn't just a "hanging succulent" or even a donkey tail sedum...

Nope, it's labeled as Sedum morganianum. Nat also believes in sharing the price of his plants when posting about them on social media. A quick look at the shop's Instagram feed and you'll see lots of labels visible. 

Something else worth pointing out, every shelf has light above it. These plants are happy and healthy, no dark recesses filled with etiolated succulents like you see at the big box stores.

Besides making sure his customers are set up for success with a healthy plant and it's actual name, Nat also has helpful signage about light conditions they'll need at home.

Oh! Tradescantia Spathacea 'Silver'

As a hands-on gardener with retail plant experience (he's the one who got Plants on Broadway, which I wrote about last summer, successfully up and running) Nat knows what hard-goods his customers are going to need and stocks a great selection.

Including handmade plant poles (for climbing houseplants) from Tiffany's Quick & Dirty Gardens (Tiffany is the friend who kept my garden looking good last summer when I was laid up with the broken ankle) .

There are also blank greeting cards featuring Nat's beautiful photographs... 

And a friendly greeter a "modern day traditional" Thai lady. You might also note there is a selection of crystals and minerals for sale...

Since I know nothing about this realm I didn't snap any photos, but they are dinosaur approved!

While I was there Nat took me on a tour of the building, including the indoor dining and market area which will be surrounded by small restaurants and a few small grocery type vendors (think fresh fruit). 

It's an exciting development for a part of the Portland metro area that's been a little neglected. Check out a map of the layout with links to the businesses here.
Finally, I asked Nat if there was anything else he wanted to add? "Killing plants is a solid part of plant ownership, without failure and pain you won't know what actual joy is." Amen to that!

So you might think that since I visited before The Other Side Nursery was officially open that I wasn't able to buy anything, but you would be wrong. I got to be their first customer! I bought this fabulous black hanging planter...

And one of the Tradescantia Spathacea 'Silver' (only $6.50!). I'm not sure I'll actually plant this plant up in this container, but for now they're hanging out and looking good together.

Nat, I wish you nothing but big success with this very exciting venture! 

If you are in the Portland area please stop by and check out The Other Side Nursery! You won't be disappointed

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Very cool! It's always good to see another plant shop/nursery opening. I love the fact that Nat is taking the time to identify the plants he is selling! I find lack of proper names annoying to no end. The Rockwood Market Hall look splendid, and would even be more so when all the shops are open. What a fun addition to the Portland landscape. Many good wishes for success!

    1. I can't wait to haul Andrew out there some weekend for a tasty lunch, and plant shopping of course.

  2. Great profile -- wishing TOSN and Nat every success!

  3. I was won over even before I read that all the plants are labeled. I would be there on opening day if only I wasn't nearly 1000 miles away. I've bookmarked the on-line nursery, though.

    1. A lot of the plants Nat's selling would be outdoor plants for you!

  4. I'm so excited for Nat's shop to open! A much needed oasis on that side of town. I'm looking forward to checking out all the food vendors after plant shopping!

    1. Right? It's a perfect set-up for a Saturday afternoon. Plus, have you visited the Gresham Japanese Garden?

  5. Yay to properly labelled plants! Nat’s shop looks great and I especially like the inclusion of grow lights - a wonderful (and often overlooked) detail. Good luck with your new venture Nat!

    1. He's not fooling around. Healthy plants for everyone!

  6. Good luck with your new plant shop Nat!

    If you lived a bit closer to me I would pop along and visit it.

    1. Well if you ever find yourself in the Portland area...

  7. Wonderful! Such a valuable resource - welcome Nat! We will be sure to stop by.

    1. Make sure you're hungry too! (so many great small restaurants)

  8. I hope it is a great success. Plant people are good people.

  9. Hope Nat's store takes off. So appreciate the fact the plants are labelled with their Latin names too. No guesswork involved.

  10. Ever since you told us about Nat and his mail order online nursery I have purchased from him. Fantastic plants in wonderful condition and shipped beautifully! I don't know if I will get to Oregon ever from Phoenix, but I am happy he is still online too! I wish him much success!


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