The Leach Botanical Garden is located in Portland and was home to John and Lilla Leach from 1931 to 1972. The property is houses over 2,000 species of plants. These plants were all collected by Lilla and John during explorations in search of finding never-before-seen species. The Leaches were very successful in discovering new plant species in the area. Today the 16 acre property is managed by the City of Portland.
Lilla, a well-known botanist, married John, a pharmacist, on September 13, 1913. The two had met while both going to school in Lilla’s home area in Oregon. The couple traveled together through Curry County and much of the Northwest for many years. It was in the beginning of the 1930’s that John and Lilla bought the land where the botanical garden is located. In 1932, John built a stone cabin on the property and was designed to please his wife, Lilla. In 1936, a new manor was built on the property and the couple moved into for constant stay. They called their land “Sleepy Hollow.”
The Leaches traveled across the Northwest in search of finding new plant species and better understanding the climates that they live in. In a book written by John, Oxbows and Bare Feet, he discussed that he and his wife found 15 new plants and 2 new genera in the Oregon area. The most famous discovery was the Kalmiopsis leachiana. This plant was discovered in the area now named for the plant, Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and is named after Lilla.
Both Leaches were awarded for their efforts in the community and botany world. Lilla won an American Botany Award among other awards for her efforts. John helped his community very much and was a major contributor to getting civil work done in the surrounding area. He also has a YMCA named after him for his support of the program.
Today, you can adventure and walk trails through the property. You can also go inside the buildings that John and Lilla once called home. There are many events now held at the botanical garden as well as guided tours.
John & Lilla Leach – Their Story. Leach Botanical Garden. January 14, 2012. Accessed October 06, 2017. http://www.leachgarden.org/about-leach/garden-history/.
Love, Rhoda. Lilla Leach (1886-1980). The Oregon Encyclopedia. October 04, 2017. Accessed October 06, 2017. https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/leach_lilla_1886_1980_/#.Wd1dimiPLIV.
Leach Botanical Garden. Wikipedia. April 03, 2017. Accessed October 10, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leach_Botanical_Garden.