Portland is known as the "City of roses" or "Rose city" apparently since as long as 1888. According to wikipedia, the origin of this epithet is the introduction of a french rose variety. In years to come, thousands of rose bushes were planted along the streets of the city and soon Portland started hosting annual rose festival. During the first world war, rose hobbyists rallied to start a Rose test Garden to protect hybrid roses grown in Europe and before long rose enthusiasts began sending roses to Portland for conservation. The initiative has grown stronger over the years and now it is a center that experiments on roses and keeps growing a varieties of roses.
A week after we arrived in Portland, we decided to head to the International Rose Test Garden that is nestled in the Washington Park right in the heart of downtown Portland. The word "park" can be misleading as we soon found out. The tall trees that adorn the hilly climb of Washington park made us feel we were entering a forest and not a park. It also houses other attractions namely an Arboretum, a forestry museum, a children's museum, Oregon zoo and a Japanese garden apart from a war memorial but since this city is now our home we decided we would get plenty of opportunities to explore it in a detailed manner. So we drove to the park hoping to spend a fabulous afternoon with nature. But Portland is synonymous with rains and the usual drizzle turned into a shower and so we had to cut our trip short. We sought respite from the rain in the Forestry museum(a post for another day) and then decided to take a quick look at the rose garden before returning home. Needless to say, the garden is a visual treat and we got to see roses of almost all colors and sizes. There are a host of hybrid tea roses, some of the varieties are named after the region of origin and some are named after their creators, and if they are still under test, the variety just has a number in place of a name. It was a lovely walk in the rose garden in the drizzle with the fragrance of roses wafting around. It was a dream stroll although the steady drizzle meant we couldn't really browse through the garden as much as we wanted and the photographs were all quick clicks.
The annual rose festival and floral parade take place around Memorial Day which means during the late May and early June. This event is something I'm looking forward to savor the next year. For now, these are glimpses of the floral feast that we relished during our visit to Portland's rose garden, you can click on the image to view full sized version.
We walked back to the car hoping that our next visit would be under blue skies and not the gray overcast kind captured below.
PS: For more details, you can check the link : http://www.rosegardenstore.org/international-rose-test-garden.cfm
Click on the photos to see enlarged images.