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Harry P. Leu Gardens
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Floridata's Gallery of Gardens is happy to provide this brief introduction to Orlando's Harry P. Leu Gardens. In addition to providing a peek at the garden, we hope to inspire you to visit, become a member, and perhaps even a volunteer. At the end of this page, we provide the link to the garden's own web site, so that you can get the particulars including hours of operation, fees and schedule of events.

Passing through the garden's iron-gated entrance you are greeted at Garden House (photo at left). This graceful plantation style structure houses the garden's business offices and gift shop and serves as the main entrance to the gardens. Before proceeding to the garden proper, check out Garden House's expansive back lawn with its vista of Lake Rowena (that's US 92/17 and the Orlando Science Center on the far side).

The property was originally settled by the Mizell family in the late 1850's with the orginal house contructed shortly thereafter. Passing through a couple of owners early in the century, the property was eventually acquired by Harry P. Leu in 1936. A successful, self-made businessman, he lived there with his wife and together they developed portions of the garden over a 25 year period. In 1961 Mr. Leu donated the property to the city of Orlando for public use. A local landscape architect, Thomas Wallis Jr., was contracted in 1965 to create a five year development plan for the garden. This plan included the design and construction of miles of paved walkways, new plantings and public facilities. The city officially dedicated the Harry P. Leu Gardens on March 8, 1970. The house has been restored and furnished with period items - tours are conducted periodically throughout the day.

What You'll See
In addition to the Leu Home Museum (above photo), you can spend hours enoying the Gardens, composed of over twenty areas each sharing a common motif or theme characterized by the kinds of plants or design or architectural feature. The gardens are connected by a handicap accessible network of hard-paved paths that make for easy strolling.

Camellia Gardens
Leu Gardens has one of the most extensive collections of camellia varieties in the United States. Blooming begins in February and continues through March.

Cottage Garden
A variety of perennials and annuals combine to form the Cottage Garden which also features a butterfly garden. This is a great place to learn which plants will do well in your Central Florida garden.

Floral Clock
The Floral Clock (photo at left) was donated to the gardens in 1976 by the Kiwanis. The clock's face, composed of seasonal plantings, changes with time!

Native Plant Garden
This area showcases many of Florida's native plant species - bring your notebook and get some ideas for creating your own low-maintenance landscapes.

Palm Garden
Features a variety of palms and cycads in a compact area, including some rare and unusual specimens. Dozens of palm species are being tested for cold hardiness and suitability for use Central Florida landscapes.

Ravine Garden
A small stream trickles and cascades through the Ravine Garden creating a warm , sheltered environment. You'll find palms, ferns, heliconias, gingers and many other tropical species in this "mini-jungle" area.

Rose Garden
Close you eyes, inhale deeply and let the fragrance of thousands of blossoms sweep you away. Then open your eyes to behold one of the largest formal rose gardens in the south. Hundreds of teas, grandifloras, and climbers are all assembled in grand presentation for your enjoyment. The Rose Garden is at its best during the cooler months of the year.

White Garden
The White Garden (photo at right) is the perfect place to be on a hot day - lot's of cool greens and refreshing whites. This is my favorite area at Leu Gardens - especially the small courtyard at it's entrance.

Wyckhoff Overlook
A rustic deck and boardwalk provides views of Lake Rowena, wading birds, and perhaps an alligator or two. The overlook is a wonderfully convenient place to observe the many native species of water and marshland plants that populate the shoreline here - oh yeah, you'll be safe from the gators too!

Visiting the Orlando Attractions?
Give your mind, body and pocketbook a break - spend a day away from Disney and Universal. Visit Orlando's natural and cutural attraction, Leu Gardens. Just a one half hour drive from the attractions area, you can spend a few hours at the gardens and then visit nearby Loch Haven Park, the home of the Orlando Science Center.

Driving from Downtown or the Attractions Area?
Take I-4 East through downtown, to Exit 43, Princeton Ave. Go east on Princeton (a right turn if coming from downtown), past the Science Center, to Mills Ave. (US 92/17). Turn right on Mills (while waiting for the light to change check out Leu Gardens directly across the lake). Drive 1/2 mile and turn left on Virginia Drive. Drive another half mile and bear left at the yellow flashing light onto North Forest Ave. The garden entrace is one block on left.

Floridata Plants
Here are some plants that you will see at Leu Gardens that served as "models" for the Floridata Plant Reference (use the Return button to re-display this page).

Plant Profiles:
Bismarck Palm
Hardy Bamboo Palm
Date Palm
Bottle Palm
Pink Trumpet Tree
Rothschild Lily
Scarlet Hibiscus
Turk's Cap
Asiatic Crinum Lilies

More about Leu Gardens

Web Site:

1920 North Forest Avenue
Orlando, Florida 32803-1537

Fax: (407) 246-2849

Thanks for taking our quick tour. Please visit the Leu Gardens web site for more information on fees, hours, memberships, volunteer opportunities, events, and facilities rental.

updated 8/7/02

© LC
Tallahassee, Florida USA