Portland’s identity with roses began in 1888. Georgiana Burton Pittock, wife of pioneer publisher Henry Pittock, invited her friends and neighbors to exhibit their roses in a tent set up in her garden. Thus began the annual rose show. Georgiana and her friends established the Portland Rose Society the next year in 1889. Jesse A. Currey, a former Rose Society President and Royal Rosarian, chose the garden’s site and convinced city fathers to inaugurate a rose test garden in 1917 with the support of the American Rose Society, City officials, and civic-minded citizens. At that time, Portland had 20 miles of rose-bordered streets — a strategy to draw attention to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial celebration. As a result, Portland was dubbed “The City of Roses.” Over a hundred years later, the IRTG is visited by thousands and continues to be a source of inspiration.
Visit the garden between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend and learn more by taking in the FREE public tour at 1:00 PM, offered by an Oregon State certified Master Gardener. Meet at the Rose Garden Store patio at 1:00 PM.
The International Rose Test Garden Centennial Rose: Centennial Sunshine
(now available commercially as Moonlight Romantica)