Leach Garden event attracts 300 holiday shoppers

Why do folks flock to outer East Portland’s only botanical park on the first Saturday in December, every year? Look at this and find out ‚Ķ

Diana Schmett and Kimberly Schmett, here shopping at the Leach Garden Christmas sale for table decorations.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When people think of Leach Garden, at the “end” of SE 122nd Ave., just south of Foster Rd, it’s images of spring, and summer walks through nature, that come to mind.

But savvy holiday do-it-yourself craftspeople also know the Garden as the place to pick up the things they need to make great decorations!

Volunteers pointed out to us Barbara Hamilton as being the one in charge. “I’ve had every volunteer position with Friends of Leach Gardens over 23 years,” she explained.

She went on to tell us that this event–their annual Christmas Holiday Bazaar–has been held on the first weekend of December for more than two decades. “It is a major source of funding for us. The Gardens has a small paid staff, and a lot of volunteers.”

Hamilton said it all started by simply providing pre-cut, fresh greenery. “People come and pick out anything they want to decorate. We sell it by the bag. It’s very reasonably priced.”

For the past few seasons, she added, they’ve added ready-made swags, wreaths, and table designs to their offerings.

Lee and Gregg Everhart, filling their bags with holiday greenery to make decorations, at Leach Garden.

Plus, the Leach Garden Gift Shop was doing brisk business, too. Shoppers checked out gift items ranging from gardening accessories to lavender soap products.

In addition to the raising of funds, Hamilton told us, “The event helps people see the variety of greenery we grow in the garden. It attracts folks to see Leach Gardens who have never been here before.

“Even in the winter, there is always something colorful and blooming here. We like people to come into the garden to see what we’re doing.”

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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