High above the city of Portland the International Rose Test Garden features more than 500 varieties of roses cultivated continuously since 1917.
Roses currently under test in the garden are not named but are designated only by a number. The new varieties are submitted by the hybridizers to the (AARS) The All-American Rose Selections is a non-profit association of rose growers and introducers dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses, who then distributes them to the test gardens identified only by their code number.
Four plants of each entry are evaluated for two years on 14 different characteristics consumers desire in a garden plant including plant habit, vigor, disease resistance, color, flower production, form, foliage, and fragrance. About 200 rose cultivars are under test each year.
The focal point of the garden is a brick wall with a plaque featuring Williams Shakespeare’s image and his quote, “Of all flowers methinks a rose is best.”