Searching for spring in Portland

Spring in Portland can be elusive. In early March the rays of the sun will begin to peek out but don't believe it. Winter is not done with us yet. For visitors to Portland spring can be the best and worst of the city. Surprisingly chilly temperatures and that ever insistent rain can dampen the spirits but never fear, for the "City of Roses" absolutely delivers when it comes to spring blooming forth in full abundance.

This garden city offers up all things flowering in masses. Here are our picks for a few of the best spots to stop and smell the roses.

Pittock Mansion

Built in 1914 by one of Portland's most influential families, the stunning mansion sits majestically in Portland's west hills on 47 acres. Multiple terraced gardens feature nearly every sort of flower imaginable as Georgiana cherished her gardens and even originated Portland's famous Rose Festival. Open year-round, the mansion itself is most festive during the Christmas holidays, but the grounds are at their best when the hills are alive with spring. Jealous much? Just imagine how amazing it would have been to wake up every day in this house.

International Rose Test Gardens

In 1888 the aforementioned Georgiana invited her friends to exhibit their roses in a tent in her yard because, well, when you're a lady who lunchs thats what you do. Thus the Portland Rose Society began. The International test gardens, one of the largest in the world, feature over 7000 plants with over 550 varieties. Stopping to smell the roses just doesn't get any better. Feeling a little lazy after all the beer tasting you've been doing? Lucky for you the Rose gardens are located in Washington park, home to many miles of hiking trails sure to make you feel the burn all while admiring nature.
flickr/Kayaker Bill

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

While not officially IN Portland, you were looking for a trip to the country right? The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is so spectacular we can't list blooms in Portland without mentioning it. The Iverson family began growing tulips in 1974. By the 1980's the family found themselves with over 15 acres of every color and varietal of tulip imaginable and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm was born. Spring is, of course, tulip season and the farm is only open for that one precious month of April but once you have experienced the drama of fields and fields of vibrant color, you may just agree only one month a year makes it that much more special.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Tired from having driven for tulips? Never fear, we're back in the city. Head to southeast Portland to check out 7 acres of rare rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom. Waterfalls, bridges and a lake complete the picture of total tranquility. Sick of flowers yet and just aching to sample another Portland craft beer? Stop whining. These blooms only come out in the spring and there will still be time for beer.


Last but not least. You will find Portland blooming everywhere. Literally. From the cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park to the Trillium's blooming along every single creek bed to most residents front yards. In those chaotic weather days of April and early May the stunning color display put on by mother nature may be the only thing that brings you back for more.

flickr/Alejandro Rdrguez

You may come for the beer. You may come for the food. But after seeing spring bloom forth releasing the city from the dark days of winter, you may want to return for the blooms.

Rhonda Delameter is a freelance travel writer, long-time Portland resident, and blogger at