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International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is a rose garden in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, United States. There are over 10,000 rose bushes of … See more

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Jan 13, 2023
This was the perfect activity for our 2 hours between checking out of our hotel and going to the airport. We spent about 1.5 hours here, and that included photographing 75 flowers. The roses were so … Full review by fitnessandchemistry
Jan 8, 2023
All kinds of roses. We were surprised to see different variants of roses. All colors. Best to bring sunblock and a hat, as it gets pretty hot during summer. Lovely place to walk and hike. 2 stores a… Full review by 63melainec
Jan 4, 2023
Absolutely beautiful! We came at the perfect time to see all the roses in full bloom. I've never seen so many varieties in one place. Great place to visit if you want a break from the city life. Full review by JDellish

Articles

Where the Rose Bowl Tests Their Roses
The primary purpose of this garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. The City of Portland Gold Medal Awards are issued annually to the best introductions. The first "Gold Medal" rose award was given in 1919, making it the oldest rose testing program of its kind in the United States. Portland is the only North American city to issue such awards. These award winning varieties are planted in the Gold Medal Garden.The terrace above the Shakespeare garden was originally planted in old garden roses. By 1959, so many Gold Award roses had crept into the terrace that it became known as the Gold Award Garden and the old garden roses were moved to another area of the garden.With the support of the Portland Rose Society, today’s Gold Medal Garden was constructed in 1969 commemorating 50 years of Gold Medal awards in the City of Roses. In 1991, the Portland Rose Society donated the garden's gazebo, a popular spot for weddings and a vantage point from which to view the roses. In 1888, Georgiana Burton Pittock, wife of pioneer publisher Henry Pittock, invited her friends and neighbors to exhibit their roses in a tent set up in her garden. Thus began the annual rose show for Portland Rose Society. Jesse A. Currey, a former Rose Society president, convinced city fathers to inaugurate a rose test garden in 1917 with the support of the American Rose Society, City officials, and civic –minded citizens. At that time, Portland had 20 miles of rose-bordered streets – a strategy to draw attention to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial celebration. As a result, Portland was dubbed “City of Roses”. The garden was a perfect opportunity for enhancing that reputation. Founded in 1917, Portland’s International Rose Test Garden is the oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. In the beginning, even though World War I was raging in Europe, hybridists sent roses from around the world to Portland’s garden for testing and to keep the new hybrids safe from being destroyed by the bombing in Europe.
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Over 10,000 Rose Plants
Portland’s obsession with the rose began when the local Rose Society planted 20 miles of the flower in honor of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. Ten years later, the president of the society, Jesse Currey, successfully persuaded the city to create a test garden to save and cultivate rose varieties from Europe during World War I. Dubbed the International Rose Test Garden, the resulting rose garden is now nurtured within Portland’s Washington Park. From April through October, it exhibits over 10,000 rose plants that bloom from 650 varieties. A wonderful scent wafts through the garden, especially as the roses become most aromatic in the afternoon when the day is at it’s warmest. The garden is split into three sections: the Royal Rosarian Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, and the Miniature Rose Garden. The first traces its roots back to the very origin of the garden and has its own secret rose society: the Order of Royal Rosarians. Members of this order are the official greeters and goodwill ambassadors of Portland. There also lies a stone bench to honor the garden’s founder. The Shakespeare Garden houses roses named after characters from his iconic plays. A memorial to the bard sits along the lush flowers with a quote reminding visitors of his love of roses. Lastly, the Miniature Rose Garden grows and tests miniature species of the flower. Also seen in this kaleidoscopic garden are the winners for the Gold Award for best new variety of rose.
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