Last week/weekend I was in Portland Oregon for the Garden Bloggers Fling, a gathering of about 80 bloggers from around the country (and a few internationals). We toured several gardens and nurseries over three days, but my wife and I arrived a day and a half early so we could check out the city and hang out with an old friend that we haven't seen in at least 15 years.

It turns out that our friend is a gardener and plant person now too, and on Thursday she took us to the International Rose Test Garden up on the hill in Washington Park. The Fling itinerary would have me going to this garden on Saturday, but since I wasn't going to be with the group that day it worked out perfectly!


Although I love having a few roses in the garden, I'm not what you'd consider a "rose person". If they were to disappear from my garden (as they do somewhat at various times of the year thanks to the pruning efforts of the deer) I wouldn't be crushed, but a good, fragrant rose in bloom is so hard to beat.

How would I enjoy an entire garden full of them? I wasn't sure, as I typically don't even visit the rose garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden when I go. Still, what's more fun than walking around a new-to-me garden in a first-time-visit city? So we braved the unseasonable heat (90ºF+) and jumped in.

It was quite sunny to go with the heat of course, so photos were a challenge. I didn't take too many wide shots, just enough to give you a sense of the place.

Panorama -- click for large version

Instead I concentrated on closeups, macro shots. For me a rose is best when it's right up in your face, especially if it has fragrance -- as fewer of the modern roses do it seems.

Don't expect to use this post as a reference for different rose varieties as I didn't record any names. Besides, many (most?) of these are not available commercially, with names like "TS3281" reminding us that this is indeed a "test garden".

The huge trees surrounding the garden made it apparent that this is not a midwest rose garden.

One thing that turns me off a bit about rose gardens in general is that they're necessarily in full sun, making photos difficult and visiting during the middle of the day uncomfortable.  On a hot day like this we were grateful that there were shady spots nearby, giving us a chance to cool off and rest our dazzled eyes.

And in Portland, where there's shade, there's moss!

After a short rest it was back to the sunlight and the roses...

So many colors, forms, and fragrances, I don't know how gardeners looking to add more roses can choose!

Later that evening the Fling started with an informal "meet and greet" at Pomarius nursery. This boutique nursery looks more like somebody's high-end garden than a place to buy plants, as you won't find similar plants grouped together on tables. For the most part the plants were all interspersed, arranged in a very pleasing way -- but I did not take any photos of this for some reason. I suppose I was too busy chatting with gardeners I had met before like Gerhard, and meeting in person for the first time gardeners who I have known virtually for years, like Loree, and Mark and Gaz.

A few things caught my eye though:

Friday's itinerary showed that it was going to be a long, busy day with an early start (8 AM), so this was a nice way to ease into the Fling schedule.

Lots more of Portland gardens coming next...


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Mark and Gaz  – (July 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM)  

The fling was a blast, thoroughly enjoyed it! Also well done on taking a good amount of photos of the rose garden, certainly a lot more than we did and I don't think Gerhard took any at all.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM)  

What Mark and Gaz said. I'm glad you covered the Rose Garden so extensively. I didn't take a single photo, it was just too hot (me) and contrasty (the light). Your macro shots are great; the overall vista is too chaotic for me, with dozens (hundreds?) of different varieties vying for attention.

www.ravenscourtgardens. com  – (July 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM)  

Yes Thank you...I was so hot I just enjoyed the sites and smell of the roses! Great photos : )

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (July 16, 2014 at 10:00 PM)  

The rose photos are amazing. I too am not driven to plant roses in my garden, but these are so beautiful. The garden is close so it is now on the must visit list...Love the photos.

danger garden  – (July 17, 2014 at 10:30 PM)  

Never have been a fan of the Rose Garden but you almost make it look tempting. Now I must return to Pomarius and buy some plants!

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