Dad never had the opportunity to go to the International Rose Test Garden, but he would have liked it there. The International Rose Test Garden is located in Portland, Oregon. It's been in operation for nearly a hundred years, and the place is huge. There are over seven thousand plants, and more than 650 varieties of roses. The Garden truly is a testing garden. Rose companies and rose growers from all over the world send hundreds of new roses to IRTG every year, free of charge, in exchange for the research and evaluation that is done at the Garden. Roses are tested for all sorts of attributes, including color, size, hardiness, and how well the blooms age. And of course they're tested for fragrance. There's a plaque at the entrance to the Garden that lists Frequently Asked Questions and their answers. The final question on the list is "What is the most fragrant rose?", and the answer is "That is always up for debate". But it's beyond debate that fragrance is indeed a key attribute.
I was at the Rose Test Garden last fall. It was past peak viewing time, but the Garden was still magnificent. I did a lot of sniffing that day, and I took a lot of photos, but I didn't photograph everything. As I said, I was there after the peak flowering time. In order for me to take a picture, the rose had to be beautiful. But equally important, it had to have a wonderful fragrance. Dad wouldn't have it any other way.
Here are some of the photos I took. You can see that they are beautiful. You need to trust me that they all smelled wonderful.
My favorite type of rose is a tea rose... but then, you probably already guessed that.