Green Morning

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Amelia and I were planning to just go for our usual walk around the neighborhood, but the minute we stepped outside and felt the warm sun and heard the birds singing, I knew just where I wanted to go: Leach Botanical Garden. It was so quiet and peaceful you'd never guess it is literally just blocks from super busy streets and lots of traffic. I think we were the only people there besides the staff.  Everything was lacy green and so peaceful. All we could hear were birds and the gurgling water of Johnson Creek. It's such a beautiful little place.

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This garden is former estate of John and Lilla Leach who were, among other things, a pharmacist and a botanist. Originally called Sleepy Hollow, the property was purchased by them in 1931 and donated to the city after their deaths. They lived in the manor house and had the little stone cottage built just across the creek (do you love their outdoor table [the moss-covered thing next to the cottage] and fireplace?) to use during the summer. When Amelia and I were there, the cottage was actually open and being swept out by a volunteer who was spring cleaning (they had literally just opened the bridge to it an hour before, they told me). She invited us in — a very special treat, as it is not often open. It was truly like being in Snow White's cottage — one little room, wooden paned windows looking out onto the green, the water just outside the door, a cobblestone path. I came out and said to the lady who was sweeping outside, "It's really is magical!" and she said, "Oh, I know!" She said her favorite thing to do was to spend a summer evening sitting in the stone circle around the fire. She said that there was mica in the fireplace that sparkles in the firelight. Her eyes were sparkling, too. It was so lovely there. I can only imagine it at sunset, or with an evening fire in the fireplace (unfortunately it closes to the public at 4 p.m.!). I love how the woods are reflected in the glass in the photo of the cottage window.

What a wonderful morning we had. Trillium blooming and ferns unfurling. Walking slower than slow with my girl in the dappled light. She kept pointing and saying "birdie" and "wow!" (which is her word for "flower"). We talked about everything as we wandered. It's not really stroller friendly or very handicapped accessible — most of the trails are quite hilly or very narrow with lots of tree roots and rocks. But the terrace is flat and open and it is a gorgeous spot to just sit quietly and watch. We bought beeswax candles and lavender soap in the gift shop. We didn't go in the manor house but I'd love to go next time. Sweetest little place. What a lovely gift John and Lilla created and left for us all.

77 comments

How idyllic is the scene you captured in those photos?? Wow. I love all the moss-covered stone!! It's wonderful to have something like that close by to wander through.

I am craving green..with all my might.
What a perfectly green stroll..I can't pick a favorite..I have classical music playing as I am admiring the photos and they are in beautiful sync.
Love her hands:)

what a beautiful gift of a place! It reminds me of some of Elizabeth Goudge's writings... the magical treasured places in England she wrote about that is! So glad you were able to go there and share these photos with us! Blessed Easter Weekend next week! :)

I can feel the beauty of this sweet place through your photographs.Wonderful!

looks & sounds like a magical spot ♥
what a wonderful find you can return to as often as you like. beeswax candles and lavender soap ~ perfect.
we took our grandson to a spot we love to walk yesterday, it's filled with chickadees that eat from your hand, and trumpet swans that "talk" the entire time. we head out with our container of seed and he gathers sticks and stones along the way and creates little nests for the chipmunks :-)

Beautiful pictures. Oh, I love it there. My husband and I used to meet there for lunches under the trees when we were dating, and we got married there 11 years ago.

Lovely! Have you ever checked out the Rice NW Museum of Rocks & Minerals in Hillsboro? It's a geology collection that is housed in a funky old house with retro charm up the wazoo! It's fun for the big meteorites *and* the kitschy bathrooms. This post made me think of it...I think you'd like it!

Breathtaking!
Otherworldly... it's hard to think of words to describe, and I know it must be even more stunning to be there, to take it in with all your senses. It makes me happy to know such places do exist, and are protected, cared for. Thank you for bringing us along.

Such a beautiful place! Seems much more wild than the botanical gardens around here.

OH! I am in love! what a most enchanting and beautiful place. Thank you for sharing, now I know of another wonderful place to go next time we visit portland!

What a beautiful place.........just looking at your photos is very calming and serene. How lucky you are to have that near by. Next time we are in Oregon I want to make it a point to see that place.

Enchanting. I kept expecting to see a gnome or a hobbit.

Your posts never fail to put a smile on my face. Thank you.

well, I think you just quadrupled attendance at Leach. now, isn't that a sweet contribution to make…beyond all you do for portland and all of us following you….

What a treasure! This is going on my to-visit list for next time I'm in Portland. Love the photos.

wow. I feel quite sure there were fairies there. I never saw such an enchanted spot, and your description added such charm! my but you do have such a way with words...they always make my day!

It sounds terrific.

DIVINAS LAS FOTOS.
CHAUCITO

It's from a whole other world...yes, truly magical! Oh, I cannot wait for green. Perfectly, wonderfully dreamy.

Oh this is lovely. I came across just hoping for an extra post but not really expecting one as you've already written this week, and I know how busy you are. Then this extra magical post. The garden is out of this world, the moss looks like green velvet and the ferns, the gingerbread cottage, chimney and mossy table are something else and the Leaches (shame about the name)... look so kind and welcoming I'm sure their presence must still be felt...What a lovely day to share with your little poppet.
Thanks for sharing it with us too. It was a special treat.
Debby

It looks so beautiful!

karen on bainbridge island says: April 10, 2014 at 02:30 PM

I love trilliums!

So lovely and green!

Thanks for the lovely intro to another place in our area I would like to explore more, Alicia. xx

I love the Leach Gardens too. Sometimes they have a tea in the main part of the house and I always wanted to take my daughter there. But we never got the chance and now she's moved to another state, so please take your daughter when they offer it. I'm sure it is just so lovely. That little house reminds me of the show The Enchanted Cottage, which I'm sure it was to the Leach's when they had lunch and tea there. Thanks for the memories -- I need to go there again!

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About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.