Home > Vacation > Portland – Day 2: Rose Test Garden

Portland – Day 2: Rose Test Garden

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

After walking around the zoo most of the day, I was not thrilled about visiting the rest of the park. However, I already had a ticket for the train, so I went anyway. The most interesting fact about the Zoo Railway to me is that it “is the last operating U.S. railroad with its own authorized railway postal cancellation to continuously offer mail service”. There are a couple of places you can deposit your mail: somewhere near the zoo entrance, or the much cooler mailbox at the train depot. I suggest bringing your own stamps and purchasing a postcard at the zoo. There’s a gift shop at the entrance. Note that the Railway is temporarily out of service until late in 2014 for additions. It closed about a month after we left, so I feel very fortunate to have squeaked in.


A very old memory of riding the Durango & Silverton train reminded me to sit at the back of the train. You’ll get a better view and photos of the train when it turns.


Once at the train arrived at the other end, it’s a short walk downhill to the International Rose Test Garden. I decided to visit it first instead of the Japanese Garden because the latter has a fee. Unfortunately, I did not make it back. My first mission was actually to look for a view of downtown Portland and Mt. Hood. I have an awesome book, Photographing Oregon (Greg Vaughn), which mentions this shot, but I could not find the view. Part of the problem was that Mt. Hood may not have been visible. Most of my trip it was obscured by smoke from nearby fires. I only rarely caught glimpses of it.


There are over 10,000 roses, with the peak blooms in June and lasting through October. Even in August, it is an impressive sight.


There’s really not alot else to say. You can’t help but be in awe and just wonder, “Where do I start?” There’s a few photos below, but go to the gallery to see them all. I was tired and did not want to miss the train back, so I tried to look for flowers that would make good photos.


And I found a California Ground Squirrel (according to the types of squirrels available here) while waiting for the train to return.

California Ground Squirrel

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  1. November 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Beautiful images, though I’m a little worried about that squirrel…

    • November 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      I almost mentioned something in the post. The squirrel’s actually just on a paved area for passengers where the train stops. The yellow is a ‘stay back’ line.

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