Portland Rose Gardens

June 2000

In 1888, the Portland Rose Society began when Georgiana Burton Pittock invited her friends and neighbors to bring their roses to her garden for a small exhibition.

In the early 1900’s, the city planted 10,000 hybrid rose bushes of a variety called Mme. Caroline Testout along the streets.  Soon Portland was known as the “City of Roses”.

For those who are really into roses: this variety was an early seed parent for some of the celebrated David Austin roses.

In 1915, concerns about the destruction of World War I led the regional trustee of the American Rose Society, Jesse A Currey, to convince the city to establish a rose test garden in Portland to protect hybrid roses from Europe.

The International Rose Test Garden in Portland is the oldest official and continously-operated public rose garden in the country.  There are about 8,000 rose bushes in the garden.  Since it still functions as a test garden, the test roses are cycled in and out on a two-year rotation, so there’s always something different to see.

June 2003

My parents came to visit for a couple weeks, and of course I took them to the Rose Gardens, along with one of Dad’s cousins and his wife who came down from Seattle.

Besides the well-known International Rose Test Garden up in the West Hills, we also went to the more formal rose garden at Peninsula Park, which dates from 1912.