After my visit to the Pittock Mansion I walked down through the Westover neighborhood and across Burnside up into Washington Park and to Portland’s famous Rose Gardens. Portland is known as the City of Roses and the Rose Gardens were formed in 1917 to preserve Europe’s finest roses from the bombing of World War I. Previous to this however the city had already developed its rose reputation from many residents’ private gardens and their presence on many city streets. Portland has an great wet, temperate climate for growing roses.
The International Rose Garden sits on a pretty magnificent vista of downtown Portland and Mt. Hood in the distance. That within itself makes it a great place to visit, but the number and variety of roses in the garden is very impressive and makes it even more of a worthwhile visit. There are rows and rows of different roses on several different levels. Since it is a test garden there are some roses that are nowhere else in the world! The different varieties all have information cards and additionally there are several sections (such as the Gold Medal Garden) that have rare or special roses. On a beautiful day like it was on Thursday the gardens were packed with visitors.
You also can check out the Queen’s Walk, which has plaques with the names of each Rose Festival Queen. The Rose Festival is one of Portland’s oldest and most treasured events in the spring and summer. Each year local high school seniors are selected by their school as their Princess/representative and then one is selected to be the Queen of Rosaria! The Rose Festival is very important to the city- I proudly remember every year when my elementary school would host its own rose competition and I won 2nd place one year!
At the top of the Rose Garden is a gift-shop with postcards, gifts, and books on roses/gardening to check out. If you’re a rose/garden enthusiast I bet you could spend hours there looking at all the different types. For others it’s well worth a visit for the views and to see all the different types of roses and colors. Check out the pictures below!
International Rose Test Garden- 850 SW Rose Garden Way Portland, OR