International Rose Test Garden
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The International Rose Test Garden is a rose garden in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, United States. There are over 7,000 rose plants of approximately 550 varieties. The roses bloom from April through October with the peak coming in June, depending on the weather. New rose cultivars are continually sent to the garden from many parts of the world and are tested for color, fragrance, disease resistance and other attributes. It is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and exemplifies Portland's nickname, "City of Roses".
|International Rose Test Garden|
A panoramic view of the International Rose Test Garden
|Location||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Area||4.5 acres (18,000 m2)|
|Owned by||City of Portland|
Gold Medal Garden
Royal Rosarian Garden
Miniature Rose Garden
The International Rose Test Garden has 4.5 acres (18,000 m2) in several tiers facing downtown Portland, the Willamette River, and East Portland. On clear days, there are views of the Cascade Mountains, with Mount Hood featured prominently.
An amphitheater hosts many events throughout the year, predominantly classical music concerts and a few plays. During good weather, the amphitheater is popular for picnicking and flying disc games. The Queens Walk is a brick walkway at the side of the garden with a bronze star honoring each Rose Festival queen since 1907.
The Shakespeare Garden originally contained botanicals mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. This was later modified to include fewer sun-loving plants due to the copious shade provided by the surrounding trees. There is a formal walkway, raised sitting area, and immaculately tended flora. The rose varieties are named after characters in his plays. It is popular for special occasions, particularly small weddings.
The Gold Medal Garden is a formal garden with award winning roses, walkways, a central fountain, and a gazebo. It is also a frequent site for weddings.
The Royal Rosarian Garden has paid tribute since 1924 to the goodwill ambassadors and official greeters who serve in the many Rose Festival events. As each rosarian is knighted, they adopt a rose variety as their namesake. A rose is planted in this garden for each of the highest ranking Rosarian Prime Ministers. This garden-within-a-garden contains many roses that are no longer commercially available.
The Miniature Rose Garden is one of only six such testing grounds for the American Rose Society. The elevated beds at the entrance are popular for their unique varieties.
The Rose Garden Store opened May 1, 2000, to provide guest services.
An abstract stainless steel sculpture and fountain called the Frank E. Beach Memorial Fountain (1975) by Lee Kelly, along with several other fountains, mix classical and modern styles. Each area of the rose garden has unique character: rose varieties, trees, terrain, lawn.
The roses and other plantings are tended by one year-round gardener—two during the summer—and many volunteers. Approximately 500 hours are volunteered yearly by local enthusiasts
In 1917 a group of Portland nurserymen came up with the idea for an American rose test garden. Portland had an enthusiastic group of volunteers and 20 miles (32 km) of rose bordered streets, largely from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. Portland was already dubbed "The City of Roses" so this was leveraged to enhance the reputation. Between Portland Parks & Recreation and the American Rose Society, the garden soon became a reality.
Jesse A. Currey, president of Portland's Rose Society at the time, petitioned for the city to serve as a safe haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I. Rose lovers feared that these unique plants could be destroyed as a result of the war. Foreign hybridists sent roses for test from many countries and the garden was an immediate success. Today, Portland is the only North American city that can issue its awards to roses of merit throughout the world.
A pink rose at the Rose Test Garden, unknown cultivar