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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Adopt-A-Rose Bed Program

The Adopt-A-Rose Bed program is on temporary hiatus.

Contribute to the beauty and enjoyment of the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park by adopting a rose bed in honor of a loved one or in celebration of a birthday, wedding, anniversary or other special occasion! All rose beds are available for adoption.

The tax-deductible donation to adopt a rose bed is $750.

There are four choices of text for the plaque:

In Memory of
Year Donated
In Honor of
Year Donated
In Celebration of
Year Donated
Donated by
Year Donated

The Garden
The Washington Park International Rose Test Garden has a collection of 9,525 rose bushes representing 610 varieties. The primary purpose of the garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. After a trial period of two years, roses that do not perform or adapt well, and those that are no longer commercially available in the United States, are replaced with new varieties. Every year, roses that are available commercially for the first time are also planted. The Adopt A Rose Bed Program includes all rose varieties in the garden that have not been already adopted.

In 1915, Jesse A. Currey, rose hobbyist and Sunday editor of the Oregon Journal, convinced City officials to institute a rose test garden to serve as a safe haven during World War I for hybrid roses grown in Europe. Rose lovers feared that these unique plants would be destroyed in the bombings. The Park Bureau approved the idea in 1917 and by early 1918, hybridists from England began to send roses. In 1921, Florence Holmes Gerke, the landscape architect for the City of Portland, was charged with designing the International Rose Test Garden. The garden was dedicated in June 1924.

In 1940, the International Rose Test Garden became an official testing site for the All-America Rose Selection (AARS), a Chicago-based non-profit association of rose growers dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses. Since 1938, the AARS seal of approval has graced new rose varieties that have performed the best in the test gardens located throughout the country. About 200 rose cultivars are under test each year in 24 rose test gardens nationwide.

Established in 1975, the Miniature Rose Garden is one of only six testing grounds for the American Rose Society (ARS) miniature rose test program. The national annual winners from both ARS and AARS associations are displayed in the middle of the garden along the center aisle.

The award called Portland's Best Rose was established in 1996. Rose experts from around the world attend a one-day judging in June and select the best rose from thousands of submissions. Portland is the only North American city that can issue its award to roses of merit throughout the world.