If you like gardens and roses you will like this place. Summer time when everything is blooming is the best. In the winter it looks like a bunch of dead sticks poking out of the ground.
This place goes back to when Portland doers and shakers were working on making Portland something. Leading up to Lewis and Clarke Exposition (1905) they came up with the idea of making Portland the “City of Roses” and get away from being known as stumptown. So they started planting roses all over town. The first city rose garden was at Peninsula Park and by 1913 it was being used by the Rose Society for its activities. A larger area for a rose garden became available after a housing developer flattened out some land in the west hills and it started to slide down hill. So houses could not be built there so lets make a park out of it and it is already flat so how about a big rose garden. How do you get folk excited about it and come up with money – make it a test garden created to preserve European rose varieties that were endangered by destruction caused by World War I in 1917. Were these folks good with PR or what. So the International Rose Test Garden became the center for roses and Rose Society activities.
So today what you have is a lot of roses. I mean a lot. There are more than 10,000 rose plantings covering the 4-1/2 acres of the garden, representing more than 500 different varieties. There are also several sub-gardens and a number of garden features. Even if you are not that much into gardens there is enough here that should keep your interest while you look around for a good selfie spot.