Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Travels 2010 - Part 3: The International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon

Established in 1917, the International Rose Test Garden is located in Washington Park, a large expanse of meadows, woodlands, and gardens on the slopes above Downtown Portland. The same park is also home to Portland's famous Japanese Garden, as well as a whole host of other attractions including Hoyt Arboretum and the Washington Park Zoo. My mom and I went to see both the International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden on a Monday and since on Mondays the Japanese Garden does not open until noon we used the morning to explore the rose garden.

 One of the main paths with arbors covered in red climbing roses

Even some of the slopes in between different levels of the garden are planted with rows upon rows of roses

A hybrid tea rose (Rosa sp.) with plum-colored blossoms

The garden is a "test garden" because it does not merely consist of a collection of various rose varieties but serves as a testing ground for new varieties that are just being introduced. Apparently there are twenty-four such gardens in the United States, all of them contributing to the evaluation of rose varieties for the All-American Rose Selection.  The Portland garden, however, was the first one and already received roses from faraway places during World War I when European breeders sent samples of their creations to Portland to keep them safe from the destruction wrought on much of Europe by the conflict.

A view across part of the upper portion of the garden

A two-tone hybrid tea rose

Red roses, complete with dew

The garden really is quite impressive, not just for the sheer number of rose bushes or the diversity of different varieties but also because the mild, wet climate of the Pacific Northwest and the expert care of the gardeners result in particularly lush growth and exuberant blooming. Many of the hybrid tea roses in the garden actually had flowers bigger than any I ever remember seeing on a rose.

A border of pink and white varieties

An orange hybrid with a flower shape reminiscent of antique roses

Mixed borders and shaped conifers used as structural accents

If you want to find out more about the Portland International Rose Test Garden, you can visit its website here. There are also other interesting rose gardens scattered around various other parts of Portland and beautiful roses everywhere from private yards to parking lots so for rose lovers the City of Roses does indeed have much to offer.

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by!