Summertime ‘high tea’ party graces Leach Gardens patio

See why this annual event is so successful that tickets sell out the day they’re offered …

Friends of Leach Gardens volunteers Anita Pohlschneider, Teresa Berry, and Christina Franklin get ready to serve tea sandwich plates at the Leach Botanical Garden English Tea party.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For nearly three decades, both guests of and Friends of Leach Gardens volunteers look forward to the mid-July English Tea luncheon on the patio of Leach Botanical Gardens.

So popular is the event, all four seatings – two each, on Friday and Saturday – sell out the very day that tickets become available. We visited this elegant affair on July 15, as the noontime luncheon was getting underway.

Friends of Leach Gardens volunteer Lana Younglove, pauses from her duties to smile as the tea party gets underway.

“I don’t know many years the English Tea’s been going on, but I started in 1988, and it has been going on since then,” said the tea’s chair, Lana Younglove.

“It does take lots of help to put on this event. About 32 volunteers work on the four teas held Friday and Saturday,” told us.

This group of ladies say they came to the Leach English Tea from Vermont Hills, on Portland’s west side near Alpenrose Dairy.

Robin Chabala and Monet Pressley from Lake Oswego enjoy a high tea.

The teacup sets and dishes, donated by volunteers over the years and kept locked in a special cabinet, had already been set out on the tables as luncheon service began.

“I like to arrange the flowers,” Younglove commented. “It’s clear the guests enjoy the event every year. I like going out and seeing everybody, having a good time all dressed up – some of them wearing really cool hats.”

Volunteer George Taylor helps by carrying a tea urn into the outbuilding.

These ladies of the “Mt. Scott Book Club” say they always look forward to this event.

Everyone pitches in, Younglove adds, “Because we need the money! Our English Tea is our major fundraising project for the year.”

While Leach Botanical Garden is owned by the City of Portland, it is maintained and operated primarily by a group of volunteers, the “Friends”, we learned.

Tatijanna Bourke plays classical violin pieces as she serenades guests at the high tea luncheon.

Bob Jeffery, Jay Owen, and Frank Webber prove that “real men” can enjoy an English Tea luncheon.

If you haven’t visited lately, Leach Botanical Garden now thrives with many daytime activities for kids, weekend fun for families, and evening events for adults. Most of them are listed at the East Portland News Community Calendar: CLICK HERE to open this page.

Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue, a couple of long, twisty blocks south of SE Foster Road. For more information, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News.

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