16 Roses From Portland’s International Rose Test Garden

No post hypothetically entitled the 10 Most Awesome Things to See and Do For Free in Portland would be worth its Buzzfeed cred if it were to omit a visit to the International Rose Test Garden.

Located in the city’s Washington Park, the 4.5 acre, or 18,000 square meter space is the the oldest continually operating public rose test garden in the U.S., home to more than 7,000 rose plants and 550 varieties. According to the FAQ sign at the entrance, there’s a permanent summer staff of just three –one gardener and two caretakers—with lots of volunteers, too.

According to wiki, it dates back to 1917, when

a group of Portland nurserymen came up with the idea for an American rose test garden. Portland had an enthusiastic group of volunteers and 20 miles (32 km) of rose bordered streets, largely from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. Portland was already dubbed “The City of Roses” so this was leveraged to enhance the reputation. Between Portland Parks & Recreation and the American Rose Society, the garden soon became a reality.

Below is a gallery of 16 images I took last August when most varieties were in high bloom, draping the garden in a cloak of scents so lusciously intoxicating that I wanted to bottle them up and take them home. Instead I just took pictures and very deep breaths that were stored away for future inspiration.

That muse awoke today when I came across the Charles Bukowski poem, Hooray Say the Roses, compelling me to finally sort through, edit and share some of these shots. Enjoy the gallery and below them, the words.

Click on any image for a larger view and ID info. A few are not identified. If you can help, I’d love to hear from you.

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Hooray Say The Roses

hooray say the roses, today is blamesday
and we are red as blood.

hooray say the roses, today is Wednesday
and we bloom where soldiers fell
and lovers too,
and the snake at the word.

hooray say the roses, darkness comes
all at once, like lights gone out,
the sun leaves dark continents
and rows of stone.

hooray say the roses, cannons and spires,
birds, bees, bombers, today is Friday
the hand holding a medal out the window,
a moth going by, half a mile an hour,
hooray hooray
hooray say the roses
we have empires on our stems,
the sun moves the mouth:
hooray hooray hooray
and that is why you like us.

 

 

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