Holiday tradition continues at Leach Botanical Garden

See why, every year, we enjoy visiting this special place in outer East Portland – when it’s turned into a Holiday decorating wonderland …

Diana Karabut, President of “Leach Garden Friends” at Leach Botanical Garden, shows off some of the hand-crafted table decorations and wreaths on sale during their Holiday Bazaar.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the first week in December seems far from Christmas day, the sights and aromas of the holidays fill the air each year during their two-day Holiday Bazaar at Leach Botanical Garden.

When we visited on December 3, we were greeted by Leach Garden Friends’ outgoing President, Diana Karabut, just inside the front door of the Manor House.

“This has traditionally been one of our main fundraisers,” Karabut told us. “For decades, people have come to our Annual Holiday Bazaar to stock up on fresh greens to use when making their Holiday crafts and gifts.”

In addition to the greenery, Karabut pointed out, they also have ready-made swags, wreaths, and centerpieces – all beautiful and distinct. “They’re all so special and unique, they’re not like anything you’ll see at a mass merchandiser.”

Leach Botanical Garden volunteers Nancy Williams, Heidi Gambee, and Ron Goodwin help customers find exactly the fresh greenery they’re looking for.

The sales from the event help with the garden’s upkeep, Karabut reported. “Also, there’s a lot of camaraderie among our volunteers at this event.”

As we admired the items on display, Karabut told us that when she first volunteered at Leach Botanical Garden in 1997, she also was still teaching orchestra at David Douglas High School. “I enjoyed working with the students for 25 years before I retired. I do it because I love this beautiful garden.”

Although she’ll relinquish her position as the organization’s president, Karabut said she’ll continue to volunteer. “I adore this place.”

Leach Botanical Garden is at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue – a long, winding block south of SE Foster Road. They’re open 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. most days. For more information, contact Kate Sheridan at (503) 823-1671 or

(Also from our cover) George Taylor, a Leach Garden Friends board member and volunteer loads up a customer’s merchandise.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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