International Rose Garden

It would be difficult to top Bend for its great atmosphere and casual outdoorsy fun, but to camp along the Columbia Gorge but were not impressed with the campgrounds available, so headed further west to Portland for a whirlwind visit.

Just a few blocks above our hotel (literally, as Portland is on a BIG hill), was Washington Park, home to the Japanese Garden and the International Test Rose Garden, two incredible gardens.

The Rose Garden began early in Portland’s history when a local gardener suggested the city create a rose garden as a safe haven to protect European roses during the widespread bombings of world War I.

The garden went on to become an official testing site for the All-America Rose Selection program and now has over 600 different rose varieties equaling over 9,000 rose bushes. It was incredible, with bed after bed of roses in every size, shape and form.

I especially liked the story of the rose variety “Peace,” which was developed by a French breeder who frantically shipped cuttings of the rose to colleagues throughout Europe and to the U.S. as German tanks invaded France.

The rose was successfully propagated and at the very first United Nations Conference, a Peace rose was presented to all the U.N. delegates. It has gone on to become one of the most successful roses of all time and is grown throughout the world.

The garden was beautiful primarily because it is awash in bloom. It is all about the roses, and is a great place to see a huge variety and pick just one to try at home. I was struck by how few had the lovely scent, but all were beautiful. I’ll add photos as soon as I can, I don’t have a good enough signal tonight.

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