Beautiful Gardens for Portland, Oregon Visitors

The delicious aroma of fresh roses met us as we parked the car and began our
adventure in Portland, Oregon, with our first stop being at Washington Park where the
International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden are located. (We were
fortunate to find close parking. A shuttle is available to eliminate the need for parking in
the limited area.)

We followed the path around the city’s tennis courts to enter a world colored by more
than 10,000 rose bushes representing over 600 varieties of roses.
( ) The
multilevel gardens cover about 7 acres of beauty. The garden, which began as a place
to ensure the survival of European hybrid roses during WWI, has grown exponentially
since that time. Eleven test sites now exist across the U.S., one of which is in Farmer’s
Branch, Texas.

After wandering around the free gardens, we crossed the street to the Portland
Japanese Gardens ( ). We purchased tickets then walked up
the steep, paved pathway lined with shrubs, trees, and flowers that leads to the Cultural
Village. In the Village we visited the Gift Shop and looked at the Unami Café. When
Covid is not impacting the area, classes and demonstrations are often offered at the
Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. The layout of the shops gives visitors
a buffer between the hustle and bustle of the city and the gardens that they are about to
enter. The Ellie M. Hill Bonsai Terrace brings into focus the long-term view of life that
the Japanese have. For example, some of the trees are over 400 years old, each
lovingly maintained by multiple generations. After admiring the beauty of the bonsai, we
entered the Nezu Gate into the tranquil gardens.

The gardens are carefully divided into different areas by lush landscaping which
changes with the seasons. We were fortunate that some of the maples had begun to
change to their fall foliage when we were there, so we glimpsed a tantalizing view of
oranges, yellows, and reds. The Strolling Pond Garden–with its Peace Lantern, Zig-Zag
Bridge, and Moon Bridge–invites visitors to sit down and enjoy the peace. The
authentic Kashintei Tea House serves as the focal point for the Tea Garden, a place
where visitors can cross stepping stones into another peaceful experience.

One of my favorite parts of the gardens was the Sand and Stone Garden in which
gravel can be raked as part of an ancient practice of contemplation. The garden is
beautiful both from ground level and from a nearby overlook.

The tranquility of the Japanese Gardens made us pause from our hurried sightseeing to
simply sit and enjoy our surroundings in this peaceful oasis hidden within the bustling
city of Portland.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here