Nestled in a residential community five minutes from Downtown Orlando is Harry P. Leu Gardens, a 50-acre outdoor “living museum.” Leu Gardens is Central Florida’s only non-profit institution devoted to the scientific study and aesthetic display of plants, featuring more than 8,000 species ranging from camellias to cacti. The core mission of this venue is to provide a cultural resource that promotes the awareness and understanding of plants, the environment and the Garden’s history.
The Gardens are named after the last owner of the estate, a successful Florida businessman and horticulture enthusiast. Mr. Leu purchased the property in 1936 and spent more than 25 years cultivating his diverse collection of plants. Leu Gardens is now home to one of the largest and most historic camellia collection in the country.
In 1961, Mr. Leu deeded his estate to the City of Orlando with the stipulation that the property be developed as a garden for the public. Opened to the public in 1962, Leu Gardens has grown to serve the Orlando community as a setting for civic events, meetings, weddings and educational classes year round. In fact, more than 300 weddings and nearly 400 meetings take place at Leu Gardens annually.
In the heart of the gardens overlooking Lake Rowena is the Leu House Museum, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Daily, docent-led tours of the historic 1880’s home are available on the hour and half hour starting at 10 a.m., with the last tour at 3:30 p.m..
Opened in January 1995, the Garden House Welcome Center is a 22,000 square foot multi-purpose facility offering a wide array of services to the public. The Visitor Center houses a library, classroom, gift shop, art gallery, meeting rooms and catering kitchen with magnificent views of Lake Rowena. Call reservation/booking to reserve your next event at 407.246.3681.
Harry P. Leu Gardens offers a variety of classes and workshops taught by local and national experts throughout the year. Classes range from horticulture to landscaping to art and cooking for adults and children. In addition, the education department offers garden camps for kids during their summer hiatus from school where children participate in planting a garden.
- Gardens: Daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed December 25), last entrance is at 4 p.m.
- Museum: Daily, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (closed the month of July and December 25)
- $10 adult, $3 plus tax child K-12, free for members
For more information, visit leugardens.org.