This week our Peaceful Place in Portland is Leach Botanical Garden.
Leach Botanical Garden
Category: Parks and Gardens
One way to look at Leach Botanical Garden is that it’s a beautiful little piece of creek-side nature just a couple minutes from the Pick-n-Pull on SE Foster. In that respect alone, it’s remarkable. That so few Portlanders seem to know of its existence adds a certain air of discovery to your first trip.
Walk around its pleasant paths, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by several gardens in one: a native plant collection, a historical collection, and designed to simulate different ecosystems around the Northwest, plants from the Southeast, a camellia collection, a fern collection.
Down at the bottom of the hill is Johnson Creek, which offers yet another surprise. Did you know that this 26-mile-long creek has salmon and steelhead runs? Right here in the city, no less.
But what really strikes me about the place is that it still feels like a home we’re allowed to visit. In fact, the owners, John and Lillia Leach, left the place to the city. They were grandchildren of Oregon Trail pioneers, he a druggist and she a botanist. They bought this place in the 1930s, built the stone cabin and later the house, and named the place Sleepy Hollow. He died in 1972, she in 1980, and they left the place to the city — to us.
I think you’ll find it easy to feel like their guests as you stroll through the woods, sit by the creek, and enjoy visiting their home.
Admission: Free. Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
TriMet #10 or #71 to SE 122nd and Foster. Plan your trip to this stop.