This is a mostly happy post, but fair warning for the next paragraph. It is sad but true. Yesterday was my very first Portland Rose Show. I took the number 70 bus up Cesar Chavez Boulevard and changed to the Red Line train to Lloyd Center. The whole trip took about 30 minutes.
At the train station, some artists were painting a memorial mural to two men who died at that station last year. Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were killed after they defended two young women who were being verbally attacked by a man named Jeremy Christian. Mr. Christian stabbed and killed the men, and is now in jail waiting for his trial. The train station mural is bright and beautiful, with quotes from the young women and their defenders and expressions of solidarity.
At Holladay Park I got off the train and enjoyed the shady trees, fountain and statues, then crossed the street into the Lloyd Center Mall. This is a bright, open space on three levels, with huge skylights and even a year-round ice rink! This is where Tonya Harding practiced when she was getting ready for the National Ice Skating Championships and the 1994 Olympics.
Inside the mall, it didn’t take long to find the Rose Show. It ran the length of the second level, on at least 60 long tables filed with single specimens in tall vases of huge floribundas, tiny miniatures, and mixed bouquets.
There were styles of display I had never seen, like “Floral Portrait” (a single perfect rose pinned to black velvet in a gold frame) and “Floral Palette” (a set of five roses displayed light to dark, left to right).
There were a few creative arrangements, but the emphasis here is clearly on growing beautiful roses rather than decorating with them.
I asked Kathy Kromm of the Rose Society why I didn’t see any specimens of Mlle Caroline Testout, the rose that started it all back at the turn of the century? “It’s not much of a rose,” she answered sheepishly. “We can grow better roses now, with more disease resistance.”
Walking around the displays a third time, I noticed that there were many “old” roses, labeled Old Garden or Victorian roses. Most of them had small blooms but were intensely colored and had interesting foliage, like Moss Roses with their dark green, fuzzy-spiky sepals. I can see where Mlle Caroline Testout, which has a large round bloom in a bright pink, would have captured rose enthusiasts’ imaginations at the turn of the 20th century.
But I know I can find Mlle Caroline Testout in the East Rose Garden in Ladd’s Addition, about two blocks from Auntie Katie’s house, so I didn’t worry.
When I had smelled and seen all I could, I caught the train and bus back home and had a rest before meeting Auntie Katie for snacks at the Nerd Out. I like being close enough for visits! I will enjoy having adventures with Cousins Jasper and Kestrel, and I will tell you all about them.