1,200 new rose bushes for North Portland's Peninsula Park


PORTLAND, Ore. - A local park is getting 1,200 new rose bushes added to its rose garden thanks to the generosity of a California grower and the volunteers who are spending time this week to plant them.

The rose garden at Peninsula Park (located at 700 N. Rosa Parks Way), spans two acres and even when the weather is cold and rainy and the flowers aren't in bloom, it's a beautiful place.

But in a few months when the roses begin to show their colors, the true beauty of the garden will emerge. And this year it'll be a little better.

"What we're doing is part of the process of enhancing the floral display at Peninsula Park," said Mark McKinney, a horticulturist with Portland Parks & Recreation, who is heading up the project.

The new rose bushes, which would have cost the city around $8,000 if they had to buy them, were donated by Star Roses out of California.

And they aren't just any roses - they're a new breed of low maintenance, disease resistant flowers that are perfect for a city park.

"These roses that we're putting in flower abundantly and they don't need to have as much care in deadheading," said McKinney. "So that will actually lower the maintenance cost for the park over time."

On Wednesday, volunteers showed up bright and early to help Portland Parks & Recreation plant the rose bushes. The ground had already been prepped for the project - 1,200 existing rose bushes that weren't doing so well were first removed.

"Over time, and I'll start back in the 80s, the whole garden froze out," McKinney explained. "And when the roses were replanted for that, they were maybe put in for preference and weren't the most resistant to the diseases that roses get."

The project is expected to take a few days. If you would like to help out, you can call McKinney at (503) 823-6229. 

"For those of us who really care about the heritage of Portland and care about the roses, this is a great way for us to give back to the city," said Volunteer Ann Gardner with Oregon State University's Gardener Program.

To learn more about other volunteer opportunities with Portland Parks & Recreation, you can send an email to Steve Pixley.

Caring for Your Own Roses

Portland Parks & Recreation's professional horticulturists offer these tips for taking care of your own rose bushes:

  • This is the time of year to start pruning branches (you want to do this before nature tells them to start growing again).
  • Prune branches to about 18 inches in length.
  • Try to remove all the old canes (stems). This will prompt the rose bush to produce new strong and healthy buds.
  • Leave no cane smaller than a pencil on most roses. The larger the cane, the larger the bloom!
  • Each bush has its own number of canes; it is up to the plant, so don't fret! Nature will take its course.
  • Don't fertilize the plants until you see about 3 inches of new growth. Then be sure to follow the fertilizer package instructions.

KATU Reporter Melanie Wingo contributed to this report.