City Cast

Stop and Smell Portland’s Roses

Rachel Monahan
Posted on July 19
sun shining on a row of purple roses with a house in the background

The North Garden in Ladd’s Addition is still blooming. (Rachel Monahan/City Cast Portland)

We’re the Rose City, after all. It’s occasionally time to hit the hot spots for fragrant and colorful blooms. Here’s a reminder of how lovely they are even after a few heat waves.

Four rose gardens (north, south, east, and west) are part of the unique layout of the neighborhood, formed from the land of former mayor William Sargeant Ladd. The gardens include more than 3,000 rose bushes and 60 varieties that date back to the early 1900s.

rows of roses and a gazebo with brick walks

Peninsula Park’s rose garden was designed like a French garden with a central fountain. (Rachel Monahan/City Cast Portland)

Peninsula Park (Piedmont)

The site of Portland’s first public rose garden is still going strong 110 years later. 300,000 people visited the year it opened; more people than lived in Portland at the time. It was where the city’s official rose, Madame Caroline Testout, was cultivated. It’s still blooming there today (see the last image in today’s newsletter).

pavilion and rows of roses with the trees and hill in background

Visitors flock to Portland’s International Rose Test Garden even midweek. (Rachel Monahan/City Cast Portland)

The city acquired the 6.9-acre site in 1917 as part of an effort to save some European roses from extinction during World War I, though the garden wasn’t formally dedicated until 1924. It has more than 10,000 rose bushes. There are daily tours at 1 p.m. if you want to get a more in-depth introduction.

Related: Portland tourist traps every local should see. [City Cast Portland 🎧]

Hey Portland

Want to know what's happening in Portland? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Portland. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.

Neighborhood Guides

See All

The latest in Portland