The Portland Rose Garden

Rose gardens have always been a favorite destination for the public. Here in the West, there are two gardens in particular that I am very fond of having been a regular visitor for the last 20 years or so. One of them is The Portland Rose Garden.

Every year or so I have the chance to go to Portland in August (the best time of the year by far) for a big industry trade show. The highlight of this trip is always the rose garden that has no equivalent in North America for its combination of location, climate and number of varieties that are offered to the public.

The Portland International Rose Test Garden as it is officially known sits on a hill overlooking the city with Mt. Hood in the background. When you arrive, your first impression will be difficult to beat.

The garden belongs to the City of Portland and is mostly tended by volunteers, without whom the garden would not be what it is. It takes all their energy and tender loving care, as well as the guidance of Harry Landers, the Curator of the garden, to make sure the thousands of roses are always at their best for the visitors who have made it the number one tourist destination in the city.

During the blooming season, usually from early June to early November, it offers visitors a sensory overload of shapes, colors and fragrances of the hundreds of beds, each showcasing a different variety. More than anything, it demonstrates the diversity in color, shape and plant habit of modern roses.

As its name indicates, it is also a trial garden for new roses from all over the world, and part of the network of test sites where we test our potential new rose introductions before they are introduced.

I am already looking forward to going back next summer, for it is one of the most enjoyable trips in my year of travels.  And if your own wanderings get you to Oregon, you should make a plan to visit the Garden.  You will not regret it.

VP of License and New Business Development at Star® Roses and Plants

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