“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.
Amazing! The plethora and variety of blooms here (we visited the 1st of June) were certainly impressive. The scents wafting through the air we're wonderful, and it felt very relaxed as we strolled around. Looked like a great place to come and have a picnic. Bonus, it's free! Highly recommend a visit here.
Whenever we have friends into town the Rose test gardens are one of the first places we take them. The garden is apparently the perfect place for growing and experimenting with roses and sits overlooking the city with its hundreds of variations of rose bushes cascading down the hill - ending in a few 'secret garden' areas including a Shakespeare garden and an amphitheater.
The perfect place to walk, see an amazing view of Portland city while taking in literally hundreds of colored sweet smelling roses - and amazingly like so many attractions in and around Oregon - its FREE.
Hint: Definitely look in the bottom right corner of the garden for the black roses... Cause lets face it black roses are awesome.
This place is beautiful. I went here on a super overcast day and it was still breathtaking. If your looking for a stunning, relaxing and free place to enjoy Portland, this is it!
A beautiful stroll through the gardens and you will be intoxicated by the scent of roses. I love it. We came here many times with my Grandmother and if you have a love of roses, you will not be disappointed by spending some peaceful time here.
Gorgeous! Flowers galore!
Free!!!!! Killer views of the city. Right next to the Japanese garden, the zoo and pittock mansion. We uber-ed up here, did the two gardens, then walked to Powell’s and Voodoo, and it worked out great!
I have never seen so much roses... its beautiful!
Amazing! Definitely make a point to stop here for an hour or a day. The rose garden was everything I hoped it would be and more - and the entire park (Washington Park) was beautiful. Lots to do for the whole family. Only pay for parking - otherwise free.
Offering a spectacular view of the “City of Roses,” the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is one of the largest and oldest rose test gardens in the country. The Rose Garden Gift Shop (adjacent to the rose test garden) offers many rose-related items. There are also two other major rose gardens in Portland: Peninsula Park Rose Garden, a formal sunken garden located in North Portland at the intersection of North Ainsworth and Albina; and Ladd’s Addition Garden in the historic southeast Portland neighborhood of the same name.
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International Rose Test Garden
- Sun - Sat: 7:30 am - 9:00 pm
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