The 5 U.S. Cities That Really Dig Gardening

Portland Oregon skyline

Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, are the two biggest cities in the Pacific Northwest. They’re also two of the biggest city-versus-city rivals in the country.

As proof of the rivalry, we offer this swipe at Seattle from Andy Kryza, senior editor of Thrillist Portland:

Seattle likes to think of itself as Portland’s richer, grungier big brother. As the Jackson 5 proved, sometimes it’s the little brother who’s way cooler and way weirder.

Here’s some more ammo for those who adhere to the “Portland is way cooler” argument: Portland sits atop our list of the 5 U.S. Cities That Really Dig Gardening, while Seattle is in second place. (By the way, another Portland rival — Austin, TX — is No. 5 on our list.)

We based our ranking on which cities saw the most Google search activity for the term “gardening” from March 2012 to March 2017.

Google Trends analyzes a percentage of all searches for a term like “gardening” within the same time and location parameters, and then applies a search score (1 through 100) to a geographic area. For 2012 to 2017, Portland collected the highest score on the Google Trends scale — 100 — for the term “gardening.” Seattle’s score was 85. On the Google scale, a score of 100 indicates the maximum search interest for a chosen period and place.

(On the map, click on the plant symbol over each city to learn more.)

All that being said, gardening is “very popular” in Portland, says Weston Miller, associate professor of consumer horticulture for the Oregon State University Extension Service in Clackamas County.

“We have a great climate for growing a wide range of vegetables, berries, fruits, landscape plants and lawns,” Miller says. “There is strong interest in native plants and plants that provide habitat.”

With Portland in the No. 1 spot, here’s our ranking of the 5 U.S. Cities That Really Dig Gardening.

1. Portland, OR

Google Trends score for gardening: 100

2. Seattle, WA

Google Trends score for gardening: 85

3. (tie) Denver, CO

Google Trends score for gardening: 76

3. (tie) Minneapolis, MN

Google Trends score for gardening: 76

5. Austin, TX

Google Trends score for gardening: 67

Top photo: Portland Wine Bar


John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.