The International rose test garden in Washington Park gets all of the attention, but did you know that it is not the oldest such garden in Portland?
Back in 1908, Portland raised $60,000 in a bond issue and bought a 17 acre parcel in North Portland. 2 acres of it were laid in formal gardens designed by Emanual T. Mische. It is a sunken garden with over 10,000 roses, each bed lined with boxwood, just the way that the English would have done it. In the middle is a large fountain. In 1913, it was the home to many rose shows, including the annual Portland rose show, but in 1917, Washington Park claimed its place and few festivities were held here after that.
Also in the park is a wonderful hexagonal bandstand, the last of its kind in Portland. I am of course referring to Peninsula Park. The rose garden is on N. Ainsworth Street between Albina and Kerby Avenues. The main pathways are laid out in patterned brick and the secondary paths are box edged grass pathways. At the major intersections you will find groups of four pollarded trees.
The roses are just starting to open up and by Memorial Day weekend it should be fabulous! The park has been made wheelchair accessible.
Brought to you by Brian Bailey