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Leach Botanical Garden

40 weeks + 4 days. My question to Lori today, “Do you ever feel like you’re just waiting around for something to happen?” Since Lori wrapped up work a week ago — and particularly since […]

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

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 the days as much as possible, enjoying the particular brand of spontaneity and mobility that we know now until it evolves into something a little different.

Today, we visited yet another hidden Portland gem buried deep in Portland’s east side — The Leach Botanical Garden.

The garden’s main southern parking lot is currently not accessible by car from the garden itself due to recent floods damaging the bridge connecting the two. But the garden is as easy walk across the closed bridge (which is open to pedestrians).

Leach Garden, formerly known as Sleepy Hollow, was established in 1931 as part of the private residence of botanist Lilla Leach. It was acquired by the Portland Park Bureau in 1971 and opened to the public in 1983. The garden administered through a joint partnership between Portland Parks and Recreation and the non-profit Leach Garden Friends.

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



The property consists of 16-acres, divided by Johnson Creek. The upper portion of the property is largely set over a terraced incline, while the lower portion runs along both sides of the creek. We visit the upper portion behind the old residence first.

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


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.



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






On the other side of Johnson Creek is about as idyllic a setting for a cabin as I’ve come across, and lo and behold, the Leaches beat me to the punch.

This old stone cabin was built in 1931 shortly after the Leaches acquired the property, and was there first home here. A few years later, they completed the manor house above.






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




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.

After our botanical garden visit, we spent some time at Heart Roasters’ eastside location. Heart is probably my favorite coffee shop in all of Portland — their coffee shops are great, but their 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 food, Lori noticed something interesting at a neighboring beer cart — “Nitro Coffee w/ Cacao.” Well, I most definitely have to try this.

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


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