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.

79 comments

I dream of an outdoor stone fireplace, next to the outdoor shower I dream of.

How lush and beautiful! It makes me want to jump through the screen into your pictures!

I kept expecting to see fairies!

Wonderful photos of a breathtaking walk! I feel like a found a treasure when I discovered your blog earlier this winter. I just finished making my first Miss Maggie. She turned out simply amazing. I can't wait to make more, and I really can't wait to see the new animals. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. Impossible to read your blog without smiling, and slowing down for a moment.

I haven't been back since my landscaping class facilitated a project there. Beautiful spot.

Ruthannfitch@icloud.com says: April 10, 2014 at 07:38 PM

Your photos and prose soothe me. Thank you for sharing your passions.

Oh my, thank you for sharing your visit with us. So magical.

Magical indeed, it's utterly beautiful. How lucky you are to live nearby. It's just the kind of place we love to visit too. The people of the past don't seem to far away when you're somewhere that bewitching.

love not only the table but everything about the place... and it is nice to know that a person who values the place gets to appreciate it when others have left...

Thanks for sharing--it looks magical! I was almost drooling over all the green and the flowers. We don't have any here yet in northern IN.

Happybigsister says: April 11, 2014 at 05:54 AM

Thank you so much for another wonderful post. I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading them!
What a beautiful, neat little place!

Just beautiful - the green. Oh! I hope it greens up here in Minnesota soon . . . thanks.

Just lovely! Thank you for sharing the lush greenery with, it gives me hope that spring is on it's way!

What a nice place !

Heaven!

Oh I love Leach! Such a special and magical place. I always tell people that if there were fairies they would live in Leach!

Would love to be outside under the trees and stars with that fireplace going. What a pretty fairytale place to see!

Love the garden. Our oldest did a trail renovation for his BSA Eagle project there.

Well I know where I'm going to visit next time I'm in Portland, and I'm taking my children and grandchildren with me. Thank you, Alicia, for the wonderful information.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful place today...it put a smile on my face. I will look it up the next time I'm in the Portland area. I could only imagine having a home like that. And how wonderful they left it for others to enjoy. Have a good day!

I've only been there once and it was so other-worldly and magical I haven't been back, thinking it might not always be as wonderous as that one perfect day. Silly me. Must put it at the top of the list!

Oh how photographs like this make me miss Portland, my hometown! Thank you for sharing!

Brenda Miehling says: April 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM

http://www.francessuzanne.com/category/heirloom

Just found this, my son is in Berlin right now and was looking on the web. I thought you might like it. Love your blog.

What a wonderful place to live.Breath taking

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About Alicia Paulson

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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Photography

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.