Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden Visit – International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon

In July we spent two wonderful weeks exploring Oregon. Of course we had to stop at a few gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden in Portland.

One of the garden “rooms” at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, OR.

Portland is known as “The City of Roses.” This is pretty gosh-darn obvious at the International Rose Test Garden where there are 4.5 acres of more than 600 varieties of roses, adding up to over 8,000 roses. The garden overlooks the city of Portland with Mount Hood in the distance (although it was too cloudy to see Mount Hood the day we were there). It’s heaven on earth for any rose lover. Although, knowing how finicky roses can be you have to wonder about how much work must go into it! And how do they keep diseases at bay? In case you’re curious like me, they prune twice a year and spray for black spot about every two weeks.

This rose looks like someone spilled paint on it!
I think this is the first lavender rose I’ve ever seen.
 According to their website, plans were started for the garden in 1917 after the Park Bureau approved it as a way of providing a safe-haven for European roses during World War I. The fear was that European roses would be destroyed by bombings. In 1940 the garden became an official testing site for The All-American Rose Selection. The garden is separated into garden areas or “rooms.” They have roses of antiquity as well as the latest rose releases, replacing some roses each year with the best and newest varieties.

Roses, roses everywhere.
What’s so impressive about this garden is the outrageous amount of color — so much vivid color everywhere you look. It’s shocking. A feast for the eyes, as well as the nose; all of those roses each with their own scent. Shakespeare said, “Of all flowers methinks a rose is best.” Well he would’ve loved this garden. In fact, there’s an area of the garden dedicated to Shakespeare. (However, there aren’t many roses in that particular part of the garden for some reason.) 

So much color!
 If you are ever in Portland in the warmer weather, it’s worth the stop. And right nearby is another great garden – The Japanese Garden. More on that later. To learn more about the International Rose Test Garden, check out this link:
There’s some history there, as well as a PDF called “Rose Test Garden Self-Guided Tour” that is chock-full of interesting info.

Roses climbing a lamp post.

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