About & History

Leach Back Five

The Leach Botanical Garden Back 5 Acres Community Habitat Enhancement Project goes beyond the goal of ecosystem restoration.

It is first and foremost an educational program with sociocultural goals designed to engage, educate, and connect people of different cultural backgrounds—to each other and to the land.

In addition to enhancing and maintaining the site by prioritizing and planting native species, we assess and analyze our progress by conducting annual plant, macroinvertebrate and amphibian surveys. We’ve also created a large vernal pond to provide breeding and rearing habitat for amphibians.

We have ongoing workshops on macroinvertebrates, pollinators, Indigenous Traditional Ecological & Cultural Knowledge, ornithology, community science, geology, plant identification and propagation, nature journaling and health in nature. These workshops encourage youth to bring their own curiosity and perspective to the natural world.

A Rich History of the Leach Back Five.

Leach Botanical Garden was the home of Lilla and John Leach from 1936-1972.

Lilla was a well-respected botanist and John was a pharmacist and civic leader.
Lilla and John purchased the original 4.17 acre property on Johnson Creek in 1931 for ten dollars and called it “Sleepy Hollow.” They built the stone cabin on the south side of the creek in 1932 and enjoyed spending weekends there. When the Manor House was completed in 1936, it became their year-round home, with the garden development beginning in earnest in 1937. John Leach and Wilbert Davies, a student of Landscape Architecture, did most of the landscaping work them-selves, including much of the stonework in the original Leach Garden areas.