Portland's International Rose Test Garden

The sights that unfolded in front of our disbelieving eyes at Portland's International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park had us swooning. Yeah, yeah this place is crawling with tourists but there is a reason why. If you haven't been yet, drop everything you are doing and make the trip. It is worth it. 10,000 rose bushes of 650 varieties across 4.5 acres and has been going strong for about 100 years now...this is some serious stuff!! Nothing can prepare you for the vibrance in color so stunning, nothing can really prepare you for the magnitude of it all.

The best part about this visit is how much the kids enjoyed it. My 2 and 4 year old were walking (who am I kidding, they were at full sprint for most of the time) up and down the rows of flowers admiring the different colors and picking out their favorites. The garden is sprawling across several elevated tiers and we had a good time discovering the flowers from one to the next. We came upon a fountain straight out of the Secret Garden and water is always a hit with these two so spent a good amount of time splashing around and playing hide and seek.

Pine cone collecting never gets old. We bring treasures (rocks, pinecones, & sticks) home from all of our adventures and have a big pile of them in our front yard. Actually it is more like an organized assembly line as the girls are quite particular about their display technique ;-)

We visited mid-day during the week so although there were visitors everywhere, it was still possible to find spots of solitude where we could really take in the sights without bumping into people. Best month to visit is June however supposedly the roses bloom May through October. Parking is fairly cheap ($2!) and the garden is FREE to visitors!! I would ditch the stroller as I found it may be hard to get up and down some of the steps. Opt for a baby carrier, or have the little ones walk! Other than my constant chirping reminder not to fall into a prickly rose bush, the girls loved the freedom to explore.

Portland weather has been keeping us on our toes. From one day to the next, it changes quite drastically. You can see us dressed for cooler weather here, but just days later we were all panting in front of a fan! We try to support small shops as much as possible so most of my clothing links will take you to exactly that:

1. Sheep Sweater: Tea Collection from Little

2. Brown Tribal Skirt: EWMcCall

3. Cowl neck organic french terry sweatshirt in chesnut: Mabo Kids

4. Pink Skirt: Tea Collection

5. Charcoal & Mustard tights: Collegien from Little

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