Over the last few years of traveling solo, I have developed a love for botanical gardens. It is a must-see when I visit any new state. The first garden that I explored was the Floral Showhouse in Canada. It was amazing! I was blown away by the variety of blooms like orchids, tulips, and hydrangeas. As well as perfectly lined hosta plants that stood over 2 feet tall and wide. In one small greenhouse, I saw numerous collections of rare exotic plants from around the globe. This place is not big at all, but there is so much to see including, exotic fruit trees, a koi pond with some rather large lily pads and a few turtles rowing by. I have found Botanic gardens to be very serene, a sanctuary in its own right. We can all use a bit more serenity in our lives, right? The International Rose Test Garden in Oregon offers just that.
I have never been a fan of roses. They have always been my least favorite flower. So how did I end up at a rose garden? The price was free! Ha! The International Rose Test Garden is located inside of Washington Park as well as the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, a holocaust memorial, a forest and much more. This park is over 400 acres so for ease of exploring you can hop on its free shuttle bus that runs every 15 minutes. I opted to drive to each location since I was only visiting the rose garden and the Oregon Zoo.
Since I had never been to a rose garden, I was not sure what to expect. I remember not being very optimistic about having a good time since I am not a fan of the flower. But before entering the garden, I became intoxicated by the pleasant aroma that floated through the air. My cheeks rose slowly into a big smile as I inhaled the sweet fragrance that surrounded me. As It led me through several trails each immaculately manicured garden beds displaying the name of each rose I noticed my smile was still shining. I remember one rose, in particular, standing out to me because of its unique name, dream come true. Without hesitation, I said, “yes, they do!” The center is bright yellow, and outer is hot pink. What a pretty combination, right?
Dream Come True
Apricots N’ Cream
The Poet’s Wife
The roses were in full bloom and a delight to see. Every variety you could have imagined in a rainbow of colors was all around me. I walked, sniffed and basked in the beautiful scenery for hours. I will never forget how peaceful it was wandering through so many different rose gardens. When I got tired of walking, I rest on a bench nestled in the shadow of the trees. I then made my way to the quiet emerald bowl of the amphitheater where I enjoyed watching the locals toss around freebies, footballs and stretched out on their blankets playing cards and board games. This was the perfect spot to enjoy a lovely picnic.
Strike It Rich
All American Magic
All American Magic
Happy Go Lucky
William Shakespeare Garden
Over the Moon
When I thought I had seen it all I was graced with spectacular views of Mount Hood and downtown Portland. Washington Park is amazing. Where there are roses, there is a un-bee-livable number of bees. I will not embarrass myself and tell you how many times I ran from bees and how many thorns I plucked from my arms. That will be a story for my grandkids when they get older. Ha!
The Lady’s Blush
If you are an enthusiast, you can spend all day here. I spent a little over 4 hours but could have stayed a few more. There are ample opportunities for photography so bring your camera and plenty of batteries. Do not forget your blanket, a good book and a sack lunch!
Let me know if you are planning a trip to Oregon this summer. I would love to help you put together your itinerary!