Waiting for Barbara Streisand

Through the long months of rain and the snow, tucked between the Sequoia, Pine trees, Magnolias and Palms in Portland’s Washington Park, a magical little garden remains quiet and dormant.


With February showers leading to March showers leading to April showers, I watch the thorny sticks, willing them to bring spring.

On the occasional warm, sunny day, the bushes seem to tease, refusing to show any small pricks of color until they are ready.

So I wait for the roses in the Shakespeare Garden, where all the non-roses – flowering trees and bulbs and tropical plants – make an early spring appearance.


And then, without any particular pomp or warning, the rose buds begin to open. The fragrance of the garden becomes sweeter as the roses emerge in every color imaginable: pink, purple, red, yellow, blue, magenta, burgundy.


Over 650 varietals of roses fill row after row up the hillside.

Some of the roses are so unusual that it is hard to make of them, such as the tie-die rose that reminds me of dyed carnations in middle school.

American Graffiti

O’er Blue Yonder is one of my top three favorites, for its unusual color, tissue paper petals and unique fragrance.

O’er Blue Yonder

Near the fountain, is my second favorite, the rose aptly named Peace. Its soft yellow color laced with pink dares you to be anxious in its presence.


And then there is the Barbara Streisand. A dear friend first showed me striking blooms several years ago. Their color is unusual, classy, and sophisticated, much like their namesake. They look so magnificent that you can hardly expect anything else from them, but then you take a waft of their scent and realize that is what makes them absolutely divide.

Barbara Streisand

Portland may have some long, gray, rainy days in winter and spring, but Barbara Streisand is completely worth the wait.

For more information, visit Portland International Rose Test Garden.

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