About Leach Botanical Garden

Before the 1800s, native people hunted, fished, and camped along Johnson Creek. In the second half of the 19th century, the property was part of the 320-acre donation land claim belonging to Jacob Johnson. Johnson operated a sawmill furnishing lumber for the very early homes in Portland. Johnson's land extended north from Mt. Scott down across the creek that was later named for him. During the 1920s a house stood on the property which was reportedly a pig farm. In 1931, John and Lilla Leach purchased the 4.5 acres and named it Sleepy Hollow. John, a pharmacist, and Lilla, an accomplished botanist, devoted their land to their fascination with plants.

Garden History


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The story of John and Lilla Leach is a compelling one – one linked with early Oregon history, science (Lilla the botanist), business/commerce (John the druggist), civic-minded citizens (YMCA & Rose Festival, Leach Garden as botanical park), writers (both Lilla & John), humorist  and historian (John) and an inspiring love story. Who could ask for more?


Our Mission

Leach Garden Friends maintains and enhances Leach Botanical Garden's living collections of plants for the purposes of education, research and conservation and preserves the legacy of the Garden’s founders, John and Lilla Leach.

Leach Garden Vision 

We Aspire to Be…

Portland’s botanical and cultural garden, a treasure connecting people, place and plants through discovery and delight.A botanical garden that highlights northwest native plants and features other unique collections including a modern physic garden, alpine house and fen.

  • A horticultural resource for both casual and serious gardeners.
  • A hands-on laboratory for environmental education that encourages engagement with the physical sciences.
  • A model and demonstration site of environmental sustainability.
  • An historic site celebrating John & Lilla Leach and their contributions to Pacific Northwest botany and to the southeast Portland community.
  • A regional destination.
  • A place of beauty, respite, and reflection.
  • A special place for families to gather and create memories.


Help us make the vision for Leach Garden into a reality.  The first phase- schematic design is complete. More information here.