Leu Gardens. 1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, Florida
Open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed Christmas)
This post was originally shared on July 5, 2018. I have updated it with current information. Photos were taken over several seasons.
The next time you visit Central Florida and the Orlando area, take a day to visit beautiful Leu Gardens. The gardens are an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from Downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to further the mission: inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The garden and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane. Admission is a reasonable $15 for adults, $10 for children 4 – 17, and free for children 3 and under. You can purchase admission tickets online. The following first Mondays will be Free Admission days at Leu Gardens: July 4, 2022 – August 1, 2022 – September 5, 2022 – October 3, 2022.
Membership in the garden comes with wonderful privileges like free admission to the garden, discount admission to all ticketed special events, free admission to movie nights, complimentary guest passes, discounts on all purchases in the gift shop, classes, and garden shop, and reciprocal privileges or discounts to American Horticultural Society partners which includes over 300 gardens. A senior membership is $45 while an individual membership is $50. $75 family membership includes 2 adults and all minor children. There are special events throughout the year, periodic plant sales, and lots of plant classes.
The Garden is divided into different types of collections of plants. For example, the Arid Collection includes a wide variety of plants that are drought tolerant. Many come from areas that are seasonally dry or from desert regions. The Azalea Collection contains approximately 50 different varieties and species of azaleas. Azaleas begin flowering in late winter (Jan/Feb) and are at their peak usually towards the end of February into early March.
There is a tour of the historic Leu home included in admission. The Leu House Museum is a restored 19th century home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Four families owned the property before it opened to the public. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, purchased the property in 1936. Mr. Leu owned a very successful industrial supply company. The Leus traveled extensively and brought back plants and seeds for their garden. The beautiful gardens bear witness to the legacy Mr. Leu left to the City of Orlando. Tour the first floor of the Leu House Museum which is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., closed Mondays, the entire month of July and December 25.
The Camelia Collection began with the varieties of Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua originally planted by Mr. Leu. Today, more than 2000 plants and 230+ cultivars are displayed throughout the gardens. This collection ranks among the largest in the United States and is one of the largest documented collections in the Southeast. Camelias bloom during the winter: November, December, January, and February.
There are walkways, benches, and swings throughout the garden.
The butterfly garden is a fan favorite and contains a wide variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that are attractive to butterflies and moths. Some of the plants are nectar plants; others are larval plants that caterpillars eat. Many of these plants also attract hummingbirds and night-flying moths..
The garden is around Lake Rowan and there are so many beautiful views.
Let’s visit the rose garden which blooms in May, June, July, and August. Mary Jane’s Rose Garden is named after Mrs. Leu. She planted her first roses by the lake, and in 1944, a small rose garden was developed on the site where the current garden is located. Over 215 varieties and 650 roses are displayed in this garden. All are suited for Central Florida growing conditions.
I like the fountain in the rose garden. Water features are such a wonderful addition to a garden.
During the summer, there are crepe myrtle trees, hibiscus, all kinds of tropical & temperate flowers, and frangipani (plumeria).
Be sure to visit Leu Garden on your next visit to Orlando.
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