Educational Events & Opportunities


To view all of our classes, tours and events, select one of the links located in the column on the right.  



This program is designed to offer hands-on experiences for a future career in horticulture, public gardening, and landscape architecture or design. The application period begins January 1st and ends March 15. Please use these links for Internship Information and Application Materials.




with Leach Botanical Garden Curator, Courtney Vengarick


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 Leach Garden Winter Stairs (photo by Annie Winn)


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Edgeworthia chrysantha                       Hamamelis mollis       

(photos by Scott Hoelscher)


Date: Saturday, February 17, 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.


Location: Tour begins in front of the Manor House.


Registration: Pre-registration required. $5.00 per nonmember / Free for members. Maximum 26 participants due to trail width and two tour guides leading groups. Tours may be full for last minute arrivals.


Description: There are wonders to view in the winter Garden. Join Garden Curator Courtney Vengarick on a guided walk to view blooming plants such as Hamamelis mollis (Witch Hazel), Lonicera standishii (Honeysuckle), Helleborus (Hellebores), Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paper Bush), and Mahonia x media (Arthur Menzies Mahonia). Wear your cozy clothes and we’ll finish our walk back at the Manor House terrace to warm up with hot cider and cookies. 


Pay Online Or email or call the office to register: JoAnn Vrilakas 503-823-1671 or jvrilakas(at)








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Why There Are Words PDX is coming to Leach Botanical Garden! This award winning literary series, originally founded in the Bay Area in 2010, is bringing the voices of new and established writers to Portland. Starting this winter, the Garden will host this quarterly event in the Manor House, from 4pm-6pm on the third Sunday of February, May, August and November. 


Please join us for "Evolve" our Why There Are Words PDX inaugural event on Sunday, February, 18, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Held at the Leach Garden Manor House with readings by six acclaimed authors: David Biespiel, Elyse Fenton, Jacqueline Keeler, Margaret Malone, Sara Quinn Rivara and Wendy Willis.   


Doors open at 4pm. Readings from 4:15 -6:00 pm

Light refreshments

$10 suggested donation at the door. 


More information about our featured authors.




Boundary Layer: the Ecology of



Mosses & Lichens at Leach



Botanical Garden


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At our feet, yet often unnoticed, is 3-4 inch ecological bridge between the soil and above-the-ground life.  Join Master Naturalist Marty Skinner for an enlightening look at mosses, and lichens, critical components of this boundary layer. In a brief lecture & slide show, Marty will describe its nature and function. You’ll then head out into the garden to locate and identify several common species, and then come back indoors for a closer examination of a few specimens. Your eyes will open to a rich and fascinating part of the natural world.



  • February 25, 10:00 am -12:30 pm
  • Limit: 8
  • Meet at the Manor House
  • Free but registration is required


Please contact JoAnn Vrilakas, jvrilakas(at), to register.






with Jane Weissman


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Transform botanically patterned paper into multi-dimensional boxes and ornaments.  Origami enthusiast Jane Weissman will guide you step by step through the seemingly magical process of creases and folds.  You’ll leave with your own elegant creations, and the knowledge necessary to make more.  All materials provided.  


  • Day & Time: March, 3, 2018 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $40.00  ($35 Leach members) 
  • Limit: 12 people, ages 13 and up.
  • Held in the Leach Garden Manor House


Please register online, or via phone with the Leach Garden Education Coordinator at 503-823-1671, or email JoAnn at jvrilakas(at)







Leach Garden Geology Camp with Dr. Michael Cummings


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Volcanic Bomb found at Leach Garden, probably ejected from one of the Boring Lava Field vents.



Cobbles carried in the Missoula Floods rest on Leach Garden’s creek bank, and a volcanic bomb from the Boring Lava Fields turned up in the meadow. Learn to read the geological landscape with Dr. Michael L. Cummings. He’ll teach you how to use topographical maps, levels, soil probes, compasses and LIDAR to collect and record information, while also encouraging observation of the environment's natural history. You’ll then use your data to make a map of Leach Garden’s geology.  When camp is over, your eyes will be open to geological stories everywhere! 



Dr. Michael L. Cummings, Emeritus Professor at Portland State University, is a dedicated researcher and teacher. He enjoys working with kids, using a hands-on, accessible approach to science that creates interest and enthusiasm.


  • March 26 – 27, 2017 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Age: 10-14
  • Camp Size Limited to 12 participants
  • Cost: $65


Register Online or contact JoAnn Vrilakas, Education Coordinator at jvrilakas(at) email or call 503-823-1671.

 compass - CC BY-SA 3.0,

water level - GPL,






with artist Jane Nash


Can You Find the Rabbit?


How does a rabbit move? It hops. But how does a hop start? What happens in the middle and how does one hop flow into the next? We know so much about nature, and yet there is still so much to learn! Nature journaling takes us into the magical realm of our senses and their role in close observation. The woods, meadows and creek side of Leach Garden abound with leaves, flowers, birds, insects, crawdads and more. Rabbits are common, deer elusive but present, and there’s a place along the creek where you’ll find beaver-chewed saplings.  Join artist and teacher Jane Nash for an exploration of Leach Botanical Garden’s natural abundance. We’ll provide you with a nature journal and pencils with which to draw and write about your outdoor observations.


  • March 28-29, 2017
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Ages: 8-12
  • $40.00
  • Limit: 12  


Register Online or contact Leach Garden Education Coordinator, JoAnn Vrilakas at jvrilakas(at) / 503-328-1671





Come Explore the Garden 

Our last walk for 2017 was 12/13.

We'll start up again on February 7, 2018


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Your little one will look for wildlife, listen to the wind and the creek, touch a thimble-berry leaf, water the Children's Discovery Garden and maybe even eat a raspberry right off the vine!  Our wonderful guides will then read a story and help the children craft something fun. Each week is different with seasonal themes.


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  • Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • 2-5 years accompanied by an adult.


This year, hikes begin Wednesday February 1, 2017 and end December 13, 2017.


Cost: $3.00 per child, non-walkers and adults free. Punch cards now available in the Gift Shop next to the Manor House: buy 5 hikes and get 6th one FREE! Bring exact change if possible.

  • We start promptly and split into smaller groups as needed.
  • For possible cancellations, please call or check main website.
  • Please dress for the weather as we hike rain or shine. 


Please note: Although the 122nd St. bridge south of Foster Rd. is closed, the Garden is open and can be accessed from 122nd Avenue. The Honeybee Hike meets and starts in the Upper Garden. Please park in the Claybourne parking lot - look for parking signage at corner of 122nd/Claybourne St. just south of Foster Rd.   Get Directions


Registration: This is not required unless you're a group of 10+ children/adults. These larger groups must preregister 2 weeks in advance. Reservation Form


Contact: Leach Garden Education Coordinator, JoAnn Vrilakas at jvrilakas(at) email or call 503-823-1671.






Frederick Law Olmsted: 


Designing America presented by Laurence


Cotton, originator and principal researcher.


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April 28
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Leach Garden Manor House
Limit 40
$15 or $10 for Leach Garden Friend/Member


Register online  or contact Education Coordinator JoAnn Vrilakas at jvrilakas(at)


With gorgeous cinematography, creative animation, and compelling commentary, Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America presents the biography of a man whose parks and preservation work are an essential part of American life. Olmsted was among the first to regard landscape architecture as a profession and a fine art – in fact, with Calvert Vaux he virtually created the profession.  He co-designed Central Park, headed the first Yosemite commission, lead the campaign to protect Niagara Falls, designed the U.S. Capitol Grounds, and planned Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of green space. In 1903, his sons brought the Olmsted vision to Portland, resulting in a comprehensive plan for the city's neighborhoods, regional parks, scenic boulevards, and pedestrian pathways. Although the city was slow to fund and implement the plan, in the decades since, it has laid the groundwork for our park systems, as well as many university campuses in the Pacific Northwest Prior to viewing the film, Cotton will briefly describe the path that led to its creation. Afterward, he’ll discuss Olmsted’s life and career, and the legacy of Olmsted designs across America, as well as his lesser known, but substantial legacy in other areas of American history.


Laurence Cotton, writer, historian, and filmmaker, has worked in public radio as an independent producer, an executive producer and host of nationally syndicated Cambridge Forum. He was executive director of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, and has served on committees planning legacy projects for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, as well as on multiple nonprofit boards of directors, including Board President of Columbia Riverkeeper. He was a consultant to the Confluence Project, and played a role in launching restoration of Vista House in the Columbia Gorge, and was a trustee of the Oregon State Parks Foundation. Laurence now serves as a historian on board small ship cruise vessels that ply the rivers and coastlines of North America. He lectures widely around the U.S. about the Olmsted legacy.


Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America is a co-production of WNED-TV Buffalo-Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc. 


Botanical Printing with textile artist Anna Zell


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Botanical printing uses historical methods to capture colors, textures, and shapes found in nature – resulting in stunning plant portraits on fabric. Leaves are layered onto natural fabrics, tightly bundled, then steamed or boiled. This environmentally gentle process permanently transfers botanical pigments without synthetic dyes, inks or paints.


Textile artist Anna Zell will lead you step-by-step through the eco-printing process. At the end of the day, you’ll take home your own printed silk noil and either crepe de chine or charmeuse silk scarf. You’ll also be given a dyeing kit and the knowledge to dye more fabrics - for yourself or as spectacular gifts for others. (See Anna’s work at

May 26, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Cost: $125 includes all silk fabric and dying supplies. 
Limit: 12
Location: Manor House & Terrace

Register Online, or contact JoAnn Vrilakas, education coordinator, at jvrilakas(at)


with Melissa Gannon


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Season of the Snowberry – Melissa Gannon


“Inspiration is everywhere – in the forest, the desert, the city, the ocean and in every living thing. Sometimes I just wander around and marvel! Subjects to paint come from my hikes, travels, outings, my imagination or from asking the question, What if . . . ?” – Melissa Gannon


“Seeking more freedom in your watercolors? Want to paint a little more loosely? Learn all that and more in this class! We will explore color mixing, watercolor washes, and glazing techniques, as well as different methods for creating texture. With beautiful Leach Botanical Garden as inspiration, we’ll paint flowers, trees and a landscape. Bring supplies. Class will include a demo.”


Series class: Three Wednesdays, June 13, 20 & 27, 10:00-12:30

Pre-registration required: $70 nonmember / $65 LGF member for the 3-day series (12 students max.)

Description: Adult class suitable for all skill levels; materials list provided upon registration or download below.

Supplies: Download Watercolor supply list.


Melissa teaches watercolor, acrylic, pastel, drawing, and colored pencil classes as well as mixed media workshops.

Shows in which her work has appeared include: Audubon Society's Wild Arts Festival, Art Splash and the Gresham Art Walk. Galleries exhibiting her work include: Earthworks Gallery in Yachats, OR;  Xanadu Gallery Studio Artists and Ryrie's Art & Home in Reno, NV. Her work is in the collection of the Gladstone Senior Center and the Oregon City Pioneer Center.




PLEIN AIR ART CLASS  - with Melissa Gannon

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 Color Twirl – Melissa Gannon


“Inspiration is everywhere – in the forest, the desert, the city, the ocean and in every living thing. Sometimes I just wander around and marvel! Subjects to paint come from my hikes, travels, outings, my imagination or from asking the question, What if . . . ?” – Melissa Gannon


Paint on location in beautiful Leach Botanical Garden.  The class focuses on how to choose a subject, address perspective, and the use of shape, color and value to create wonderful compositions.  Melissa gives individual attention to each participant during the painting process. At the end of class, you will able to share your work. Plan to work in whatever medium you're comfortable with. The demo will be in acrylic. Please bring your own closed container of water for acrylics and plan to transport your paint water and/or solvents (for oil paints) home with you.


  • Day & Time: Wednesday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30
  • Pre-registration required: $35 nonmember / $30 LGF member (12 students max.)
  • Description: Adult class suitable for all skill levels. Download supply list below.
  • Supplies: Download Acrylic supply list.

Melissa teaches watercolor, acrylic, pastel, drawing, and colored pencil classes as well as mixed media workshops.

Shows in which her work has appeared include: the 1999, 2005–2010 Audubon Society's Wild Arts Festival, Art Splash 2001–2002, 2007, 2008, and the 2007–2012 Gresham Art Walk. Galleries exhibiting her work include: Earthworks Gallery in Yachats, OR; Xanadu Gallery Studio Artists and Ryrie's Art & Home in Reno, NV. Her work is in the collection of the Gladstone Senior Center and the Oregon City Pioneer Center.




Create a Living Wall Hanging



Hardy succulents enliven a landscape with color, texture and seasonal interest. Becky Wright-Sell, owner of Sedum Chicks Nursery, will show you how to use them to create a living wall hanging that is yours to take home. She’ll teach you about succulents in general, and their many other applications along the way. 

  • June 14, 2018
  • 10:00am -12:00pm
  • $65.00
  • All materials provided
  • Leach Garden Upper Meadow