International Rose Test Garden

The International Rose Test Garden is a bit of a mecca for U.S rose lovers. This article is a follow up to the Portland Rose Garden visit from June 2011. I was able to get back to this fantastic city again in early July 2012, and the blooms were much better!


Some of the roses were a little faded out, but most still had some solid blooms. From what I could tell, the weather may have been playing some havoc with the flowering times too.

This is the oldest public test garden in the US, and is home to hundreds of roses, ARS Winners and experimental varieties. The moderate climate is excellent for roses. It’s really a beautiful place. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, although that’s a little unusual for Portland. It also overlooks the downtown areas nicely. Also, the normally overcast skies, while not the most pleasant to look at, makes photography here outstanding.

This day was beautiful but sunny, so not great for photos (bright sunlight tends to wash out rose colors, reds in particular). Be sure to make time to visit the Oregon Zoo and the Japanese Botanical Garden, which are also great areas for flowers as well. Just a note of caution, its a bit of a hike up to the top so bring your walking shoes. There’s also a public bus and tram stop that’s close by.

Lots of the residential areas around the garden have plenty of their own private gardens, and there are sometimes neighborhood garden walks organized. Definitely recommended for the rose lovers that visit Portland.