"'Please, Papa,' I begged, 'tell us the Rose Garden'"
Portland's Rose Test Garden
GNU Free Documentation LicensePortland's Rose Test Garden - Credit: Kelvin Kay

The International Test Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon

Portland is referred to as the Rose City. The park Al refers to is the The International Rose Test Garden which is one of 24 official testing sites for the internationally respected All-America Rose Selection.

The garden of artificially manufactured 'designed' flowers inspires Al to create his own family in a similar way. Dunn was particularly concerned with the possibilities emerging in the 1980s that genetic modification and selective breeding seemed to offer.

In an interview with Chuck Palahniuk for his book Fugitives and Refugees, Dunn refers to her own visits to the International Rose Test Garden as an inspiration for the creation of the Binewski children. She relates the memory of walking among the roses considering her son's misbehaviour and thinking to herself, "These would not have occured in nature-I should've designed a better child".