The Garden opened to the public in 1983 as a partnership between Leach Garden Friends and Portland Parks & Recreation. The core of our landmark Garden is the estate of John and Lilla Leach, who went on botanical expeditions and,in the 1930s, built the Manor House and began the gardens that bear their name. They left the beautiful grounds, buildings and more than 2,000 species of plants to the City of Portland. The Friends group formed as a non-profit in 1981 and since that time has anchored daily operations with a large active volunteer group and a small staff.
As a result of their efforts, the Garden continues as a place of respite in the urban landscape. The Leach story—their pioneer roots, expeditionary adventures, scientific and artistic pursuits, botanical interests, whimsy, affection and humor—continues to inform our work. In partnership with other organizations, we offer practical instruction in a variety of garden-related topics. Children and adults pursue learning in the Garden through educational offerings ranging from botany to geology, from painting to illustration, from discovery to deduction.
Today the Garden has grown to nearly seventeen acres. An Upper Garden Development Plan adopted in 2015 provides direction for new facilities, botanical interpretations, and spaces for community activity. We look forward to sharing the secrets of Leach Botanical Garden with you.