A Riot of Roses
Photography courtesy of Portland Rose Test Garden
The International Rose Test Garden offers a beautiful expanse of roses on four and a half acres in Portland, Oregon.
Created during World War I as a safe place to protect Europe’s best blooms from wartime bombings, the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon’s Washington Park is the oldest continuously operated rose test garden in the United States. It features more than 10,000 roses and at least 610 varieties of the beloved flower on four and a half acres. New roses are tested for attributes like color, fragrance, and disease resistance and added yearly to this colorful oasis, which welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
When to go
The roses bloom from late spring to early fall, or approximately May to September, but you may want to visit during the Portland Rose Festival, which runs from May 26 through June 11 and features entertainment, carnival rides, music, parades, and food. The garden also hosts special events throughout the year, such as a festival on Valentine’s Day with music, food, and wine tastings.
What you’ll see
Enjoy spectacular roses of multiple colors, types, and sizes, along with views of downtown Portland and, on clear days, the Cascade Range and Mount Hood. Among the garden’s offerings are the Shakespeare Garden with a bust of the famous bard, a Gold Medal Garden spotlighting over one hundred years of excellence in rose breeding, and a Rose Garden Store with rose-themed gifts, books, and gardening supplies.
Plan your visit
The garden is open daily, and admission is free. There is limited parking nearby, so you may want to take public transportation to Washington Park and then board its free shuttle, which runs a loop through its grounds and stops at the garden.