I’ve always had a weird sense of pride in some of Portland’s most popular monikers. “Bridge City” is one: there are eleven bridges crossing the Willamette River within city limits. Why I get so excited about all those damn bridges is anyone’s guess. It’s not like any of them are even landmarks in the bridge world; not compared to the Brooklyn or Golden Gate bridges.
I most like these cupped, double roses, like this pink one.
I failed to snap a decent photo of ‘Rainbow’s End’, a cultivar with pink, yellow and orange blooms growing on the same plant, so this one of another miniature will have to do.
Some of the lighter lilac roses were marketing as being “blue.” We know better than that.
Another nickname I’ve oft championed but never understood is the “City of Roses.” Portland has a long and storied history of rose growing: wife of publisher Henry Pittock established the Portland Rose Society in 1889. One year later, the city’s rosarians fell in love with a new French cultivar called Madame Caroline Testout. Approximately half a million of these bushes were planted along Portland’s streets to attract visitors to the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, thus the apt “City of Roses.”
The green-tinted pink petals of Eden rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ swallowed up this light post.
‘Cinco de Mayo’ was a variety I was excited to buy for the nursery back in San Diego, and it never did well. It sure seems happy here in Oregon!
Guess what this one was called.
The International Rose Test Garden was completed in 1924, as a shelter for European hybrid roses during World War I. I suppose what I’ve never understood about growing roses in Portland, from a horticultural perspective, is that roses 1.) love the sun and 2.) hate wet feet. I remember specifically the failing rose beds during my internship at The Oregon Garden, which were situated at the bottom of an enormous, sloping lawn where water accumulated and rotted their roots. Clearly this wasn’t an ideal situation, but I’ve never understood how such a soggy city could grow such nice roses.
How cliché are these raindrop photos?
My favorites were the non-traditional colors, like this salmon, deep burgundies and muted rust.
This beautiful striped rose was labeled ‘ORA 1189.’ It could be a new introduction – the only information I could find was that it won ‘Best Landscape Rose’ last year at the rose trials in Barcelona.
Perhaps, though, I’m being colored by my dislike of them in general. For those keeping track of plants I don’t like, we’ve covered azaleas, begonias, cacti and kangaroo paw, among others. Still, I’ve never been known to pass up a visit to a garden, no matter what I think if its inhabitants. And despite its official title, the Rose Garden does have some (shaded) room for non-rose interlopers, including the beautiful mixed beds of the Shakespeare Garden.
Can anyone identify these gorgeous tricolor leaves? I feel like I’m missing the obvious answer.
When my dad saw this beautiful freckled fatsia, he wanted to know why a plain ole’ green one had been planted in his yard. I’d be miffed, too!
This bed in the Shakespeare garden took up a rare sunny spot free of roses. Interesting tropical choices including a banana and fan palm.
Growing up, it was my father who was always most concerned about how our garden looked. I can’t say that he loved the act of gardening – he always hired someone to do most of the dirty work for him – but what he did love was having an attractive and functional outdoor space: a place where we could grill, hang a hammock, soak in the jacuzzi and play endless hours of games. Plants were a means to that ends, making the space both enjoyable and functional.
More traditional selections include white canna lilies, German iris, barberry and – hey! I knew they couldn’t resist sneaking a rose in there.
The home of Rare Plant Research.
Hosta, pulmonaria, impatiens, ferns and astilbe growing peacefully in a shaded bed.
I felt a little guilty that I used last Mother’s Day as an excuse to visit the Rhododendron Gardens. So when my dad suggested, unprompted, that we spend Father’s Day at the Rose Garden, I felt a little giddy. Just who is taking after who, here? It was an overcast, drizzly afternoon, which made our visit kind of perfect. It wasn’t overcrowded, and the drops on the blooms made for some truly motivational photographs. Between downpours we huddled under our umbrellas and caught up. I’m blessed to have parents who, if they don’t necessarily share my enthusiasm for plants, at least indulge me.