Autumn color is peaking at the garden right now and this stretch of cold, clear weather is perfect for fall garden visits. This laceleaf Japanese maple is glowing with color, the sugar maple and tall stewartia near the tree walk are ablaze when catching the sunshine, and the ginkgo tree by the Manor House will soon be turning bright yellow before its sudden leaf drop. 
OUT IN THE GARDENPollinator Gardens in Winter
It comes as no surprise that a diversity of plant species is essential to a successful pollinator garden. Native plants as well as plants that bloom throughout the seasons are both important, and winter months are just as important as spring and summer. An excellent example of a plant that provides cold weather food is the hybrid Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ (adjacent to the Pollinator Garden) which is swarmed by hummingbirds when it blooms in the middle of the winter. Witch hazels, hellebores, snowdrops, and crocus are other great winter options.

A successful pollinator garden must also provide shelter and for this reason we do not deadhead spent flowers or cut down herbaceous perennials in the winter. Many insects overwinter on the undersides of leaves or in the hollow stems left behind from flower stalks or grass blades. In addition to providing homes for overwintering species, some plant species provide winter interest as well. Prickly coneflower heads, burst-open iris seed pods, and ornamental grass flowers all last even after the plant has gone dormant and provide wonderful architecture while plants and animals rest until the coming spring.

~Adam Hart, Horticulture Manager

Left to right: Andropogon gerardii 'Red October' in the foreground with Calamagrostis brachytricha in the background; Agapanthus 'Storm Cloud'; Astilbe chinensis (unknown cultivar).


The Education Program at Leach Garden may seem to have gone dormant from the twin impacts of the Upper Garden Development Project and COVID, but we’ve been busier than ever!

David Douglas High School students are out in the Back 5 Community Habitat Restoration Site every month. They have weeded, collected and propagated native seeds, tested water quality in Johnson Creek, and practiced GIS and arboriculture. Blueprint Foundation and African Youth and Community Organization students spent a fantastic day in October dissecting owl pellets and learning about the food web with Johnson Creek Watershed Council staff. They also explored owl ears, eyes, facial discs, and feathers to understand the relationship between form and function, and took birding walks with a PhD student from OSU. This month they conducted rigorous scientific surveys of salamanders with a PP&R Ecologist, and learned about the concept of habitats. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Back 5 Project is how many people and groups want to be part of stewarding our urban greenspaces. Green Workforce Academy, Rosemary Anderson POIC High School, Native Plant Society of Oregon Portland Chapter, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, NW Academy High School, Northwest Youth Conservation Corps, Connecting Canopies Interns, and volunteers for Portland Parks & Recreation No Ivy Day and Portland Parks Foundation Fall Summit Day of Service have all weeded out there. And of course, the ongoing efforts of the Wisdom of the Elders Workforce Development LLC and their interns, and the Leach Garden and Johnson Creek Watershed volunteers continue to make huge impacts. In fact, the first two acres are looking good, and we’ve started installing over 1,000 more plants!

TOP: Blue form of the red-spotted garter snake; red-legged frog; raccoon tracks. ABOVE: Blueprint students studying Johnson Creek. PHOTOS: JoAnn Vrilakas.
Pick out a wreath, explore the winter garden, and get your holiday shopping done at the Garden's non-profit gift shop! Beautiful, unique, hand-decorated evergreen wreaths will be available for sale in the Covered Arbor in the Upper Garden. The lower Creekside Parking Lot will be open for easy access to the gift shop. The shop features locally made and fair trade items, along with a great selection of nature-focused books, puzzles, field guides, socks, and more!
EXPLORERS AT HOME: Feature Article on Leach Garden
The November issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine features a well-written, engaging, and very informative article about the garden. Learn about Land Morphology's design process for the Upper Garden as well as the origin of the garden and the noteworthy accomplishments of Lilla Leach, a trailblazing female botanist. Even if you're familiar with the history of the garden, this well-researched article is a highly recommended read.
LAM Article

This is the perfect time of year to look for the large leaves of the white oak tree—the leaf pictured is over a foot long.  Quercus alba is a slow-growing but long-lived tree that is widespread across the eastern US and is valued for its hardwood. "Stave oak" is a common name for this tree because its wood has traditionally been used in barrel making. Many species of birds and mammals feast on the acorns which are sporadically produced in "mast" years (years when a bumper crop is produced). It is also a larval food plant for butterflies and moths. Keep reading if you'd like a hint on where to find this tree...

Stroll along the middle and upper trails in the riparian area to find these large, lobed leaves. 

The renovation process is now underway, starting with the repair of the Stone Cabin’s slate roof and extensive exterior repairs to both the Carriage House and Manor House. 

The Garden will be open throughout the renovations and the Gift Shop will remain open most of the time. (Please call or check the website for shop hours and other updates.) Garden visitors will continue to be able to access parts of the historic lower garden throughout the renovations.

If you have questions or feedback on this project or anything else related to changes at the Garden, contact Ben Shockey Leach Garden's Executive Director.

Many thanks to Representative Reardon for helping us secure the grant that has made this work possible, to Portland Parks & Recreation and the City of Portland for working with us to realize this major renovation, and to Bremik Construction, Hennebery Eddy Architects, and many other contractors for bringing their skills and expertise to the completion of these projects.

Wednesday–Sunday: 10 am–4 pm
Early entry for garden members on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 9 am. 

Wednesday–Sunday: 10:30 am–3:30 pm
Laceleaf Japanese maple photo: Becky Rittel. Pollinator Garden photos: Annie Winn
Thank you for being a part of our garden community!
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6704 SE 122nd Ave
Portland, OR 97236-5037

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Leach Botanical Garden · 6704 SE 122nd Ave · Portland, OR 97236-5037 · USA