If a city goes by the sobriquet of “City of Roses,” you can bet there are rose gardens to explore. In fact, you don’t have to walk many blocks in any Portland neighborhoods before you see the roses: in lawns, in terraced gardens, in parking strips, on trellises, & practically anywhere they can be planted.
In fact, Portland’s climate is ideal for roses—the moisture, the temperate winter, the moderate spring & summer all combine to make this a rose gardener's haven. & of course, that being the case, there are public rose gardens as well. With June being Rose Festival month here—& with the roses everywhere in resplendent bloom—I decided it was time to visit one of these.
There are actually three main public rose gardens in Portland: the extensive International Rose Test Garden in the west hills, the small Ladd’s Addition Garden in the southeast, and—as it turns out—Peninsula Park, which is not at all far from where I live. That being the case, I decided to visit local first, & just yesterday morning I strolled on over to Albina Avenue & headed north.
It’s roughly a 30 minute walk from my place to Peninsula Park—& I’m a slow walker. The park is also easily accessible on the #4 bus—there are stops right at Ainsworth & N. Albina where the park is located. My walk began under gray skies, with the occasional random raindrops—cool for the season—& I briefly considered catching the bus to get there, but having just missed one at the Blandena stop, I realized I could probably walk there before another one showed up, & I was close to being right.
The garden itself is lovely & magical—it’s a sunken garden, well below street level, with a venerable, 100-year old fountain gushing effulgently in the center (this made more true by the bright sun that appeared just as I came up to the garden), & long rose beds spangled with blossoms of many colors hedged by boxwood on finely manicured grass pathways. Catalpa trees also embellish the walks, planted in pairs & trimmed to an almost umbrella shape.
In addition to the fountain, the other noteworthy architectural feature is an octagonal bandstand that dates to the early 20th century—the bandstand was used for concerts to raise money during the First World War, & is still available for usefor both music & weddings. The brick walls that line the north & south entrances are also hedged with roses, & along the street level walks above the garden there are benches for the contemplative or weary.
Although it was late Tuesday morning, there were all sorts of folks there to admire the garden’s beauty—joggers, moms with strollers, kids on bikes, young couples, older folks, & other solitary walkers like myself. It’s a beautiful setting, & well worth a visit. I’ll certainly be back!
Hope you enjoy the photos & my all-time favorite “rose song.”