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Leach Botanical Garden: Ultimate Guide for Visiting

We set out to explore historic Leach Botanical Garden, a hidden living-wonder in Portland’s less-trodden Outer Southeast.

Today, we visited yet another lesser known Portland, Oregon gem buried deep in Southeast Portland — historic and lush Leach Botanical Garden.

Lori’s 40 weeks + 4 days along. My question to Lori today, “Do you ever feel like you’re just waiting around for something?”

Since Lori wrapped up work a week ago — and particularly since the baby’s due date passed on Monday — our entire life right now can be summed up in one word:

Waiting.

But we really don’t like waiting. So we fill our days enjoying a particular brand of spontaneity and mobility that we know is about to evolve into something a little different.

Over the past ten days, we’ve pounded some pavement on Portland’s 4-T Trail (Trail, Trolley, Tram & Train), logged some miles along our favorite little hiking loop in Northwest Portland, and had ourselves a hardcore stair workout in the Alameda Ridge neighborhood.

Today, Leach Botanical Garden!

SE 122nd Ave. bridge was closed due to recent flooding when we visited, but has since reopened.

The Basics

Leach Garden Hours

The Leach Botanical Garden is currently open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm, and Sunday 1pm-4pm. They’re closed to the public on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, and have limited hours on Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve.

Admission

FREE! Contributions, however, are encouraged, as they help support the ongoing operations of this unique and peaceful little corner of Portland, including education programs for the public.

Parking

There are two main parking lots for Leach Botanical Garden, one on the south side of the main gate, just off of SE 122nd Ave. (Creekside Parking), and a lot on the north side closest to the children’s garden (SE Claybourne St.). On the weekends, we’ve found better luck with the Claybourne parking lot.

Especially for Children

In addition to walking the main garden, which offers something for all ages, little ones will especially enjoy exploring the children’s garden near Claybourne parking lot, and going on a scavenger hunt throughout the grounds. Visit leachgarden.org to download the latest version of their Scavenger Hunt map ahead of time and enjoy!

leach botanical garden

About Leach Botanical Garden

Leach Garden, formerly known as Sleepy Hollow, was established in 1931 as part of the private residence of botanist Lilla Leach.

The grounds were acquired by the Portland Park Bureau in 1971 and opened to the public in 1983.

The garden is administered through a joint partnership between Portland Parks and Recreation, and the non-profit Leach Garden Friends.

The Leaches’ historic former residence now serves as the centerpiece of the garden and hosts various events and functions throughout the year.

leach botanical garden

 

 

The property consists of 16-acres, divided by Johnson Creek.

The upper portion of the property is largely laid out over a terraced incline, while the lower portion runs along both sides of the creek.

We visited the upper portion behind the old residence first.

leach botanical garden

Being mid-June, we were surprised to see so few flowers in bloom, but the garden was more than worth exploring regardless.

leach botanical garden portland

 

leach botanical garden

The Leach Botanical Garden is home to over 2,000 species of plants, including alpines, medicinal herbs, rock garden plants, camellias, and 125 species of ferns.

 

leach botanical garden

 

leach botanical garden

Lori’s favorite part of the garden, of course, was the bamboo!

 

leach botanical garden

 

 

leach botanical garden

 

leach botanical garden portland

 

Across Johnson Creek and up the hill is about as idyllic a setting for a cabin as I’ve come across, and lo and behold, the Leaches must have thought so as well.

Stone Cabin

This old stone cabin was built in 1931, shortly after the Leaches acquired the property, and was their first home on the property.

A few years later, they completed the larger manor house.

old stone cabin leach botanical garden

 

 

 

 

 

manor house leach botanical garden

Manor House: The Leaches’ main residence, across the creek and up the hill.

 

 

old stone cabin leach botanical garden

The creek running through this gulch is strangely reminiscent of various jungle rivers we’ve visited in the tropics.

Visit on a hot and humid day, put some rainforest sounds on your iPod, and you could easily fool yourself into thinking your deep in the jungles of Central America.

Post-Garden Eats

After our Leach Botanical Garden visit, we spent some time at Heart Roasters’ Eastside location.

Heart is my favorite coffee shop in all of Portland — their coffee shops are great, but their specialty coffee is the best in the area — and we’ve been frequenting their westside location for over a year.

Yet, this is the first time we were able to make it to their sister location on East Burnside, and I have to say, I think I like the Eastside location better.

For lunch, we grabbed some Mexican tortas at a nearby food cart pod. While we were waiting for our tortas, Lori noticed something interesting at a neighboring beer cart — “Nitro Coffee w/ Cacao.”

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Well, I most definitely have to try this.

And…it was pretty amazing. Smooth, complex, refreshing. The coffee hits you first, followed by a smooth, non-sweet chocolaty finish. Delicious.

 

Leach Botanical Garden, Portland, Oregon

Have You Visited Leach Botanical Garden?

What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.

14 May 2019
17 Jun 2016

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