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Harry P Leu Gardens
With 3 miles of lovely scenic pathways set in almost 50 acres of southern styled charm, the Harry P Leu Gardens are a welcome haven of peace and tranquility and a wonderful place to get back to basics. Just five minutes from Downtown Orlando and on the shores of Lake Rowena, this botanical wonder introduces visitors to ’ Old Florida’ at a leisurely pace and makes a peaceful change from the buzz and excitement of Orlando’ s endless theme parks.
Home to the largest rose garden in Florida, Mary Jane’ s Rose Garden was named after Leu’ s wife and has around 250 different varieties displaying over 1200 roses as well as orchids, azaleas, desert plants and colorful annuals and perennials. The sights and scents of the garden are wonderful.
Harry P Leu and his wife traveled the world, bringing well over 200 varieties of camellias back to their gardens. This was the legacy left to the people who visit and today Leu Gardens can boast to having one of the world’ s largest and most extensive collection of Camellia.
The restored 19th century Garden House, once home to the Leu family, is a graceful plantation style structure and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Built in 1888, it preserves the furnishings of a well to do, turn of the 20th century Florida family and the interior is furnished with Victorian and Chippendale items and various pieces of art.
The house greets visitors to get them aquainted with the wide range of landscapes once inside the gardens. The house also contains a library and various meeting rooms.
A successful self-made businessman, Harry P Leu donated his 49 acre estate to Orlando City for public use in 1961.
You can stroll along the meandering walkways, boardwalks and footpaths and they will lead you through a sightseeing experience lined by ancient oaks draped in Spanish moss offering welcome shade. The walkways take you past the many gazebos and fountains, the Butterfly Garden, Palm Garden, Tropical Steam Garden and past a 50 foot floral clock. The clock was donated to the gardens in 1976 and the clock’ s face is composed of seasonal plantings that change with the seasons.
The Home Demonstration Garden displays residentially scaled " idea gardens" including a bird garden, fragrance garden, enabling garden (for those guests with limited mobility) wildflower garden, courtyard garden, evening garden and a shade garden.
Harry P. Leu Gardens can be found at 1920 N. Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803-1537
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