West Coast Road Trip (continued)
Portland’s International Rose Test garden isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s primary purpose is as a testing ground for new rose varieties and it is the oldest rose testing program of it’s kind in the United States. They care for over 10,000 plants of 500 varieties. For almost one hundred years, the city of Portland, Oregon is the only North American city to give an award for new breeds of roses, the “Gold Medal” rose award. Portland’s nickname is actually “The City of Roses”.
The garden is less than ten minutes from Downtown Portland, it’s free to visit and I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon. A must-see.
Test Garden Concept
The concept of a test rose garden comes from 18th Century France, where they began the hybridizing of new roses from pre-selected plants. In modern times, new rose breeds are evaluated on 14 different characteristics including habit, vigor, disease resistance, color, flower production, form, foliage and fragrance.
- Red Roses symbolize love, courage, and desire.
- Dark Crimson roses are given as a symbol of mourning.
- Pink represents grace, elegance and gentleness.
- White roses stand for innocence, purity, and humility, but can also mean secrecy.
- Yellow roses symbolize jealousy in the Victorian times, but now show friendship and freedom.
- Orange roses show enthusiasm and desire.
- Blue roses are associated with fantasy and the impossible, as no rose is truly blue in nature.
Rose Garden Gift Shop
It’s worth noting that they have a gift shop which you’ll adore if you love roses or flowers in general. They have a large selection of locally made products from roses and rose essence such as soaps, lotions and teas, not to mention very lovely rose-themed cards and souvenirs. The shop is non-profit and all proceeds from sales is used to support Portland’s public rose gardens.
Where to Stay When Visiting Portland
The Camas Hotel, just a 20 minute drive from downtown Portland, is a fantastic boutique hotel. Very European, romantic, comfortable and they usually offer great rates. Get all the details here.
I hope you get a chance to visit! To see all my photographs of the gardens, check out my Pinterest page.
Next Stop: Multnomah Falls, Portland! Come with me!
850 SW Rose Garden Way
Portland, Oregon 97205
Open 7:30am – 9:30pm