History of Rose Garden Portland Oregon:
Portland's Rose Gardens date back all the way to 1888 where a woman by the name of Georgiana Pittock began inviting her neighbors and friends to bring their favorite roses into her garden to showcase them. What started off as nothing more than a simple tent in Georgiana's garden gave birth to the Portland Rose Society's rose show, held every year. Some years later in 1917, one president of the Society managed to convince city officials support a test garden for roses. The Rose Garden Portland Oregon was founded that same year.
What makes Portland's Rose Garden unique, among many things, is the fact that it is the oldest test garden in the US that is publicly operated, and has been continuously since its inception. The test garden was used extensively during WWI when rose breeders all over the world began sending rose specimens to the Portland Rose Gardens to keep them safe while much of Europe was being devastated by war.
International Test Garden - Rose Garden Portland Oregon:
The International Test Garden at the Portland Rose Gardens has a distinct honor of being one of only twenty four sites that are used officially by the AARS (All-America Rose Selections). The AARS is a non-profit organization consisting of international rose breeders and growers who all share the common goal of promoting and introducing the most outstanding roses they can to the world. The AARS has become respected the world over and since its creation in 1938 it has awarded its seal to only the best performing roses throughout its test gardens. The AARS has had a presence in Portland's Rose Gardens since 1940.
Any rose that makes its way into the AARS test gardens has to prove itself under a variety of conditions and climates. None of the roses submitted for testing are given a name but rather are identified simply by their numbers. The hybridizers and breeders submit their roses to the AARS and from there the cultivars are given to each of the test gardens for evaluation. This is only the beginning of the process as each rose is then put through a 2 year test where it is graded on more than 14 specific traits that growers find desirable in roses. These traits include color, fragrance, disease resistance, and bloom production, just to name a few. The Rose Garden Portland Oregon could have as many as 200 different roses in evaluation in any given year.
Shakespeare Garden - Rose Garden Portland Oregon:
The Shakespeare Garden at the Portland Rose Gardens has become one of the most popular destination spots for visitors within the Gardens. This garden was dedicated to the Portland Gardens as a donation from the LaBarre Shakespeare Club. Originally, this garden was only supposed to be home to a variety of flowers, trees, and herbs that were used in Shakespeare's many plays, however over the years the trees have done so well that they have shaded out many of the sun loving plants that once flourished here.
Instead the gardeners at the Rose Garden Portland Oregon have honored the Bard by selectively planting roses around the site and naming them after some of the characters used in his plays. The Shakespeare Garden at Portland's Rose Gardens has been chosen as the backdrop for many weddings over the years since its creation. With its informal design and plenty of shady spots, many visitors come to this location for picnics or relaxation, or simply to lose themselves in seemingly far off lands.
Royal Rosarian Garden - Rose Garden Portland Oregon:
The Royal Rosarian Garden was created to honor the goodwill ambassadors and official greeters of Portland, the Royal Rosarian civic group. The Rosarians have a very strong presence within Portland's Rose Gardens and are often seen at festivals and events performing knighting ceremonies or walking in parades. The first Rosarians were introduced in 1912 and the founders of the group modeled their realm after King Henry VII's government. The significance of this time period is in 1485 King Henry VII came to power and put an end to England's War of the Roses.
True to history, each member of the Rosarian are officially knighted under their own chosen rose, which then becomes their namesake. Members have been knighted in his manner at the Portland Rose Gardens since 1924 within the Rose Test Gardens when they are at their full splendor. The Royal Rosarians highest office is that of Prime Minister and each of the past Prime Ministers' namesake roses have a place of honor within the Royal Rosarian Gardens. While many of these older roses are simply no longer available for purchase on the market, visitors can still come to this garden to enjoy a piece of history they may not otherwise get the opportunity to see.
Queen's Walk - Rose Garden Portland Oregon:
Another special and unique garden that you should consider visiting if you ever make your way to the Rose Garden Portland Oregon is the Queen's Walk. This garden was created in 1952 in order to honor all of the Queens selected at the Portland Rose Festival. The Festival, which has been a tradition ever since 1907, began with the daughter of the Governor at the time, Carrie Lee Chamberlain. From its inception up to 1930, the Festival used different criteria and methods to select their Queens, before adopting the method that they still use today.
Since 1931, the Portland Rose Festival began choosing their Queen from one of 14 high schools within the Portland area. Each school selects one student to serve as their ambassador. The 14 selections makeup the Rose Festival Court and it is from this group that the Queen is then chosen. For that year the Queen presides over all of the Festival events and is the chosen representative of her City of Roses. Portland's Rose Gardens have been a great family destination for decades and if you are ever in the area you should definitely make time to visit this amazing garden!
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