Student guide to viewing Portland’s perfect petals

Photo of cherry blossoms
Paige Anderson / The Mossy Log

With Old Man Winter finally retiring, spring blossoms wake up, several local parks boast blooms

As spring approaches and the sunshine bathes our city slightly more frequently, the plants and flowers begin to finally show their phenomenal myriad of colors and patterns. The following will guide you through the very best spots to enjoy the new spring blooms.

Tryon State Park

For the student who does not have the time or access to travel to further parts of Portland, Tryon State Park is right across the street from campus and offers some beautiful diversity in the springtime blooms. 

Among the healthy plethora of moss and ferns, delicate trillium, Sheep sorrel and evergreen violets introduce a variety of colors to compliment the vibrant greens of the Tryon landscape. Bright yellow Daffodils can be seen popping up all over campus and throughout the park, and gorgeous pink Camellias with incredible petal patterns invite one to take a close look at the flowering trees. 

The Oregon Iris has also begun to grace us with its presence: look closely along the sides of the trails to spot the bright purple and yellow six-petaled flowers. Dotted throughout Tryon and in mass on campus, pink, purple, blue and yellow Hyacinths and Crocus are bursting through the soil, brightening up our walks to and from class. 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

The cherry blossoms along the river’s edge in downtown Portland are an iconic spot to visit in springtime. Rows and rows of gorgeous pink blossoms line the waterfront, perched on small hills of bright green grass. This is a common photo spot, where Portlanders and visitors alike gather to appreciate these first, special signs of the changing season. 

Stretching along NW Naito Way, one can meander along the park path lined by the trees on either side, taking in the sights. Occasionally, Oregonians will gather and play music in some of the paved parts of the park, creating an inviting atmosphere that emphasizes the hope and promise of sunshine that the cherry blossoms represent. 

International Rose Test Garden

Though still a little ways ahead, Portland’s famous rose garden will soon be in full bloom. In late April and May, visitors can expect the Rose Garden to explode with dozens of different types of roses. The experience offers a bit of history, as each bush is marked with the year in which the roses were introduced to Oregon. Beginning in 1918, flower hybridists in England would send rose samples to Oregon to see how they would thrive, allowing for a rich diversity of colors, smells and types. 

The rose is an important flower to the city of Portland, as Rose City is one of its common nicknames, and the rose bloom is a must-see for any Portlander. Additionally, the Rose Garden is positioned right across from the Portland Japanese Garden, where Wisteria winds across arbors and white Viburnum flourish near the ponds. 

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

In Southeast Portland near Reed College, this garden offers a gorgeous variety of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Access to the garden is $5, except on Mondays, when entry is free though donations are still recommended. A day could easily be spent wandering through the garden, smelling the sweet scent of Daphne blossoms in the warming breeze, gazing at the multicolored Hellebores and pink Cyclamen which have just begun to emerge. Magnolia and Plum trees have also begun to blossom all over the city and throughout the garden. 

All over the city, Portland has beauty to offer. We are lucky enough to live in a place where we can look outside our dorms and classrooms and relish the sight of the gorgeous array of plant life which comes with Oregon springtime. 

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