Northwest road trip.

We’ve just finished the first day of our Northwest road trip.

Northwest road trip

It all began very early this morning.  We left the house at 4:50 a.m. in order to get to the airport on time for our 6:50 flight to Portland, Oregon.

While I have traveled to the Northwest twice, this was to be my first time in Oregon and I could hardly wait to explore Portland.

Many of you may know that I am crazy for roses and that my love for them inspired me to go to school to become a horticulturist.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

So, it should come as no surprise that the International Rose Test Garden in Portland was our first stop.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

It is not only a beautiful garden open to the public – it also serves an important function to test new roses to see how they do. The pink roses, above, were undergoing testing and as a result, not been named yet.  As far as I’m concerned, they deserve to pass – they were gorgeous and had healthy foliage.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

I confess to having a preference for roses with multiple shades of color.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

I loved the unique colors of this ‘Distant Thunder’ rose, don’t you?

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

The garden was large, but not overwhelming in its size. We were able to walk around and see the roses within an hour’s time.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

There were all sorts of roses growing there from climbing, floribunda, hybrid tea, grandiflora, miniature and old-fashioned.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

There were a few differences in the rose bushes that is not often seen in drier climates like the desert Southwest.

For one, we don’t see moss growing on rose canes.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Also, blackspot is a fungal disease that is prevalent in humid climates and while it is a problem in the humid climate of the Northwest, it isn’t often seen in the Southwest.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

The peak bloom season for roses in Portland is still a couple of weeks away, but there were still plenty in bloom.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Almost as fun as enjoying the roses was seeing all the different types of people who came to visit these gardens, including this little girl who was having fun by the fountain.

International Rose Test Garden in Portland

Not surprisingly, I took over 200 photographs of roses and have more than I will need for upcoming rose articles. Who knows? I may create a rose calendar for my wall next year 🙂

William Shakespeare's sentiments

I happen to share William Shakespeare’s sentiments when it comes to roses.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Oregon Historical Society Museum, in downtown Portland, to learn more about Oregon’s history.

We then took a stroll along the South Park Blocks, which is a green space that runs through the center of Portland that is made up of 12 squares (or city blocks).  

Theodore Roosevelt

In the middle of each square is a statue or other artwork. Here is one of Theodore Roosevelt.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln can also be seen enjoying the beauty of Portland.

Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Okay, when people say that Portland is ‘green’, they aren’t kidding. While it is so beautiful, it can be a little overwhelming to this Southwestern resident.

Our next stop was to the Far East, better known as the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  

Chinese Garden

To be honest, this wasn’t a scheduled stop on our itinerary, but we had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel and so we drove through the downtown and drove past this garden.

Well, as a mother of 3 children from China as well as having visited China myself a few times, I looked forward to looking through the garden.

entrance to the gardens.

Chinese lions guarded the entrance to the gardens.

As we stepped toward the entrance, a kind visitor offered to take me with her, using her 2-person guest pass, saving me the admission fee. (Did I mention that all the people we have met in Portland are exceptionally nice?)

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Upon entering the gardens, I was instantly transported back to China and the gardens that I had visited years ago.

pink blooms.

Rhododendrons are in full bloom everywhere you look and I really liked how the pond reflected their pink blooms.

pink blooms.

The blossoms are huge!

Chinese garden.

Being in Portland, some rain is to be expected and we got sprinkled on at the Chinese garden.

Chinese garden.

Visitors and workers enjoyed each others company. I got a kick out of seeing this garden worker working in the pink taking care of the water lilies.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Decorative pathways made from pebbles stretched throughout the garden.

Bonsai plants

Bonsai plants were scattered about.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

While I like the look of bonsai, I lack that patience to use the technique.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Before we left the garden, I stopped by the gift shop to buy a Chinese gift for my daughter, Gracie, who is very proud of her Chinese heritage.

Portland is a great place to visit.  The gardens are beautiful…

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

And water is not in short supply as is evident from the drinking fountains that run non-stop…

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

Tomorrow, we will visit Portland’s Saturday Market, which is a large arts and crafts market with ver 250 vendors. Then we are off to Tillamook (cheese) and Astoria, Oregon.

Road Trip: Roses, Presidents and a Trip to the Far East

I’ll be sure to post more tomorrow!

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
3 replies
  1. FlowerLady Lorraine
    FlowerLady Lorraine says:

    What a beautiful start to your trip! Oregon looks like a beautiful part of the country. One we thought about moving to many, many years ago, but alas, FL is our home.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip ~ FlowerLady

Comments are closed.