International Rose Test Garden

Part 7

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

Smiley Face

Rose-covered Archway

Apricots N’ Cream

La Perla


Dark Knight

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.

Yves Piaget

Strike It Rich

All American Magic

Classic Women

Twilight Zone

Rose Garden

All American Magic

Happy Go Lucky 

William Shakespeare Garden


Name unknown

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!

Monkey Business

Betty Boop

The Lady’s Blush

Tahitian Sunset

Double Delight

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!

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