On a recent chilly weekday, Johnson Creek’s waters were rushing through the 16-acre garden’s middle, following long bouts of rain. The rain had paused and a fog descended on the garden grounds, snaking through the Douglas firs, while bright orange and red Japanese maple leaves glistened.
The public natural area is tucked in a residential neighborhood with not-so-easy-to-find parking, a humble operation with a few employees and volunteers — mostly seasonal — working out of a worn-down house on the property.
“For the first couple of years, we called it the secret garden, because no one knew about it,” says Irene Bowers, vice president of the Leach board of directors and longtime Portland landscape architect.
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