Rose City

Like many cities, Portland has multiple nicknames. One of them, Rose City, or City of Roses, has been the unofficial nickname since 1888 and its official nickname since 2003. In Portland, roses are everywhere and I tend to take them for granted.

Recently I paid for parking downtown, and finished my errand with half an hour left on the meter. (Well, I use that expression, but meters don’t exist here anymore. Rather, I use an app on my phone to buy time. The list of things that change with time continues to grow. But let me get back to my story.) I was across the street from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which is a long, narrow park that is on the banks of the Willamette River that flows through the center of Portland. I decided to take a walk and enjoy the park rather than waste my remaining paid minutes.

It was a good time to view roses, I discovered. The vigor and variety was impressive, and before I knew it, I was snapping photos as I walked toward the river’s edge.

I came around the corner of a building and realized I could use the roses to frame a shot of my favourite Portland bridge: Hawthorne Bridge.

Here’s one view in yellow.
And another in red. Which one do you like best?

The roses slowed my movement to the water. Though only steps away from my car, I did use the full half an hour to make it to the river. I took one look to soak in the view, then went back to my car and headed on home.

Portland’s Willamette River view, with the Broadway Bridge.

I thought I would look up some juicy detail about Portland and roses for you, to make me seem interesting and clever in my blog. So I clicked around and found an absolutely great short video that explains Portland’s history with roses. It’s so good I don’t even want to take credit and would rather have you see it yourself. The video includes the first American rose society, our own brand of royalty (the Rosarians), a hiding place for European roses during WWI, and a Lewis & Clark exposition. It all started in the 1800s with a millionaire named Georgiana Pittock. This four minute video is worth your time. ❤




18 thoughts on “Rose City

  1. Beautiful nickname, your rose photos (I prefer the yellow shot) and legacy. And the bridge! Just those ear sticks stuck into them to make them more perfect in the video made me cringe a little. 😀

    1. I cringed too! I also did NOT like how one man said the aim was for perfect symmetry and that symmetry equals beauty. Aww, how sad of him (and the gardeners) to think so.

      I am clearing photos off my phone today, and I found this collection I had forgotten about. They deserved a short, pretty, blog post of their own. 🙂

  2. Fascinating video ! Great post. I like both photos of the bridge .. such a good eye you have. As a neighbor up north near Seattle, I enjoyed learning about the rich history. (I just visited the mansion several months back).

    1. Hi Bonnie. Thank you for the compliment. I like both too, that’s why I asked for opinions. 🙂 I didn’t realize you were in Seattle. I hope you made it through the heat unscathed recently. I was in Seattle just two weeks ago, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s new medical degree. I love the area so much. Glad you’ve been to Pittock Mansion. It’s a good stop when I have visitors in town. The grounds are lovely and free, with the fabulous overlook of Portland which I’m sure you experienced. The home is outstanding, and I’m very glad it is kept as a museum for us non-millionaires to walk through.

  3. Great shots of the roses. One of my favorite flowers. I had so many roses in California but they do take a good bit of care. I haven’t been to the rose garden in several years. I always stop and look at them at the nurseries. The photos make me miss them a bit.

    1. That’s true, roses look best with regular care. *sigh* I imagine myself to be a woman who would do that, but judging how I get to other things, it would not be likely. ha ha!! It’s best to admire Portland parks roses instead. I haven’t been to the Rose Test Garden in several years either. It might be a good Fall field trip for us. The Japanese garden too: I love it so.

  4. Those roses are a delight for the eyes, Crystal. I hope they also smelled nice. So often the ones one buys as cut flowers don’t smell sweet, but I do remember how lovely the roses in my grandmother’s garden used to smell.

    1. You know, I sniffed every different kind I could find. I have discovered, like you, that some smell and some don’t. I am afraid of missing the most fragrant flowers, so I check each variety as I go through. With these, it seemed as though the more picture-perfect roses had less scent, and the more wild rose-looking blooms had more scent. Maybe it’s hard to get both. I do this with so many flowers that my boyfriend Pedro has begun copying me, and on all our walks, whenever there is a blossom of some kind, he is just as likely as me to be the first to push his face into it.

      1. Oh, I love this image of you guys going around sniffing every flower in sight. 🙂 I love flowers, but adore those which are fragrant, or edible, or medicinal.

  5. My mind provided the necessary smell as I scrolled through your roses, Crystal! Fine photos! Peggy and I just spent a week in Safety Harbor, Florida where we came for Tony’s retirement ceremony and celebration. It was quite moving. –Curt

    1. I am enjoying hearing the story of his retirement. I am glad to hear the ceremony and celebration were a success and glad you were able to be there for it. I think, if Tony can find a new direction he’s excited about, that he’ll be glad to start this new chapter. His last job was hard on him physically, and I hope he finds a new plan that doesn’t hurt him so much!

      I’m glad you were able to add the scent on your own. Excellent!

      1. Our fingers are crossed for him, Crystal. Mainly, he just wants to continue to fly, hopefully fixed wing, but helicopter would be fine as well as long as the equipment and hours are different.
        A rose is a rose… 🙂

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