I is for...International Rose Test Garden
I'll admit that I've never been to my I Oregon destination...at least from what I can remember. Ironic considering it's really not that far from where I now live or from where I grew up. I guess that I had other priorities when I visited Portland; mainly Powell's, but that's for later on. My mother would probably love to visit this place. And now on to our topic for the day...
The International Rose Test Garden
Washington Park, the International Rose Test Garden is home to over 10,000 plants consisting of nearly 650 different varieties. It is also the oldest public garden of its kind in the United States. Comprised of 4.5 acres and set up in tiers, the garden faces downtown Portland and offers spectacular views of the city, the Willamette River, and Mt Hood in the distance. Within the garden there are several specific sub-gardens. Each has it's own theme and attractions. In addition to these gardens, there is an amphitheater, a zoo, and a brick walkway along the edge of the garden, the Queen's Walk, that contains bronze stars honoring each of the Rose Festival Queen's since 1907.
The Shakespeare Garden was originally planned and laid out to only show botanicals that were mentioned in the works of Shakespeare. However this was modified to include plants that didn't require as much sun due to the abundant amounts of shade from the surrounding trees. The rose varieties in this portion of the garden are all named after Shakespearean characters. The Shakespeare Garden is very popular for weddings.
The Gold Medal Garden is comprised of award-winning roses. There is a lovely walkway, fountain, gazebo and path through the garden and weddings are common.
The Royal Rosarian Garden pays tribute to the goodwill ambassadors and official greeters from the Rose Festival; it has been doing so since 1924. When a Rosarian is knighted, they choose a rose for their namesake. A new rose is planted in the garden for each of the highest ranking Rosarian Prime Ministers. Many of the roses within the garden are not available for commercial sale.
The Miniature Rose Garden is comprised of exactly what it sounds like: miniature roses. It is one of six testing gardens for the American Rose Society.
The entire garden has one full-time gardener year-round and an additional in the summer. However their work is supplemented by local volunteers, who log in an average of 500 hours a year.
The concept for the International Rose Test Garden was originally conceived in 1917 by a group of nurserymen in Portland. The president of Portland's Rose Society at that time, Jessie Currey, petitioned the city to provide a safe haven for hybrid European roses during World War I. He felt that the war would destroy many of the native roses. To ensure that this would not happen, many European rose hybridists sent roses to Portland and the park became an immediate success. As of today, Portland is the only North American city that can give awards of merit to roses throughout the world.
If you want to read up a little on what's happening in the garden today, there was a pretty interesting article in The Oregonian today. Happy Wednesdays, fellow A-Zers. Until tomorrow.