Leach Garden bazaar offers unique Holiday decor

See why people drive to this unique outer East Portland park, in search of hand-made treasures

The gates of the estate are open, as the Leach Botanical Garden Annual Holiday Bazaar gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The first Friday or Saturday in December is circled on calendars around the region – to make sure folks don’t miss the Leach Botanical Garden Annual Holiday Bazaar & Artist Market.

From all over the greater Portland metropolitan area, shoppers head out to this unique venue, located in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, to kick off the Holiday season by shopping for freshly-made wreaths, swags, centerpieces, cut greens, baked goods, and an artists’ market as well.

With the event underway, Bake Sale Coordinator and volunteer Joanne Jackson spends a moment with Leach Garden Friends President Linda Morrow.

“This annual bazaar is one of our fundraisers,” explained Leach Garden Friends President Linda Morrow.

Although Leach Botanical Garden is owned by the City of Portland, and falls under the general maintenance auspices of Portland Parks and Recreation, it’s Leach Garden Friends that actually “keeps the garden going,” Morrow told East Portland News.

“Our group creates and hosts all of the events and education, such as the Children’s Nature Fair, and other activities. This requires lots of volunteers, as well as financial support.”

Everett Pearson from Three Brothers Nursery organizes greens, with the help of longtime volunteer Ron Goodwin.

Penny Johnson says she came shopping for the fresh greens that she’ll use to decorate her home in Clackamas.

Although the Holiday Bazaar is a two-day event, it takes volunteers a couple of weeks of work in advance to gather the greens and the materials for the sale, Morrow explained. “At some times, as many as 40 volunteers helped out.”

Visitors to the bazaar browsed among the ready-made items, and many took the time to sort through and select just the right materials to make their own Holiday decorations. While there, some folks walked around the area to experience the garden in winter, sip hot cider in the Manor House, and enjoy Holiday music, while they checked out the handmade items presented in the sale by area artisans.

Shoppers check out the offerings of artisans during the Leach Holiday Bazaar.

Leach Botanical Gardens Executive Director David Porter said the volunteer group is expected to realize about $6,000 from the sale this year. “Even more than the funds raised, this event brings people here to see our unique and beautiful garden,” he said.

One doesn’t need a special invitation to join Leach Garden Friends, Morrow reminded as we were leaving. “Everyone is welcome to come join our organization,” she said. “It’s better, and a lot more fun, to have more people helping out!”

> On our Front Page: Perennial Leach Garden Friends volunteer Katie Goodwin is ready to help another shopper.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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