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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 19: International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon

My ba noi (paternal grandmother) passed away 5 years ago today. :( There are so many things I could tell you about her, but I think my post about how I learned to cook and the lessons I learned from ba noi is still fitting, so read that if you missed it the first time around.

Day 19 The International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon 3

Instead I thought I'd show you pictures of one of her favorite places - the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Founded in 1917, Portland’s rose garden is the oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the country. During World War I, hybridists from around the world sent roses to Portland for testing and to keep the new hybrids safe from being destroyed by the bombing in Europe. Each year, 200 rose cultivars are tested. The rose garden has 6,800 rose bushes, featuring 557 varieties.

Every time ba noi came to visit, we always took her to the rose garden to take pictures. My favorite photos are from 1994. She had worn a rust-colored ao dai (Vietnamese long gown). I remember an older gentleman pausing to watch while we took pictures, smiling the whole while. A friend, who saw one of the photos from this set, said he thought my ba noi was the gentlest-looking grandmother he'd ever seen.

These pictures were from a visit in July 2006. That was the summer of triple-digit temperatures so I don't think the roses were performing quite at their best. I also wasn't actively blogging then so wasn't quite as snap-happy. That and my siblings were complaining about the heat so I didn't get shots of the Shakespeare garden either. Which just means I'll have to revisit at some point and show you new pictures of the rose gardens, yes?

Incidentally, for those of you who love hearing lil' sis stories, she was on the Rose Festival court of her high school. She didn't win (Although, I think she should have!) so she wasn't an official Rose Festival princess (they're called ambassadors now) and didn't get to ride on a float in the rose parade (second largest in the country after Pasadena's).

View of downtown Portland from the rose garden. Funny how I can remember when we first came to America, I could see all of downtown from this vantage point.

Day 19 The International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon 1

Day 19 The International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon 2

Day 19 The International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon 5

And from the miniature rose garden.

Day 19 The International Rose Test Garden - Portland - Oregon 4

So if you're ever in Portland, you should go visit. The Japanese Garden and Washington Park Zoo are also within walking distance of the rose garden, or just a quick, free tram ride away.

International Rose Test Garden
400 SW Kingston Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
6,800 rose bushes featuring 557 varieties


The Rose Garden Store
850 SW Rose Garden Way
Portland, OR 97205

1 year ago today, Kishi Japanese Restaurant - Upland.


  1. We love that place....a must see for Portland!

  2. definitely my top must see spot if i go to portland. but who knows might do it if i have a lot of time in seattle. since it is only a couple hrs away.

  3. Kirk,
    Of course. There's a reason why Portland is the "city of roses." :)

    Thanks. But really, these photos don't do the garden justice.

    Seattle's got so much stuff to do too! But yeah, only a few hours away.

  4. I just love roses! Those pictures are so beautiful and it looks like the air is crystal clear.

    Shreveport is the home of the American Rose Center, if you ever get down this way...it's well worth a visit, especially around Christmas to see the lights.

  5. The bf and I are planning a trip to the Oregon coast. We'll have to stop by this gorgeous garden on our way. :)

  6. Sis,
    The air is always clear in the Pacific Northwest. Lots of trees means lots of oxygen. :)

    If you spend more time in Portland, let me know and I can give you some other suggestions.

  7. Awwww I love the story of your ba noi in her ao dai. =)

  8. Jeannie,
    Thanks. No one else registered the story. I guess everyone just looked at the pictures in this post. :(

  9. Hello that place has a nice view and is full of cute flowers and trees, this is a one of the natural wonders from our planet. It seems Ms. Ba Noi was a great woman who appreciated the beauty of the nature.

  10. Clark,
    Yes, the Rose Garden was definitely one of my grandmother's favorite places.


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