Thursday, December 29, 2016

Leu Museum and Gardens

December 2016 - Orlando FL

The Harry P. Leu Gardens are semi-tropical and tropical gardens in Orlando.. The gardens contain nearly 50 acres (200,000 m2) of landscaped grounds and lakes, with meandering trails shaded by 200-year-old oaks and forests of camellias.

The Leu Gardens were started by Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Leu, who in 1936 purchased Leu House and 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land. The Leus traveled all over the world and brought back many exotic plants and many varieties (240) of camellias for their gardens. In 1961, the Leus deeded the house and the gardens to the city of Orlando.

Bromeliad Collection: Bromeliads are a large diverse group of plants that belong to the Bromeliaceae Family. Many have brilliant colored inflorescences while others have strikingly colored foliage. Some bromeliads are terrestrial (grow in the ground) while many others are epiphytic (grow on trees). Bromeliads can be found throughout the Garden.

Arid Garden: This area displays a wide variety of plants that are drought tolerant. Many come from desert regions or areas that are seasonally dry. Some types of plants found here include acacias, agaves, aloes, bromeliads, cacti, flowering trees, palms, succulents and yuccas.

I love cacti and want to see the desert in the spring when everything blooms.

White Garden: A small tranquil garden developed to give an alternative site for small weddings. The plants in this area have flowers that are white or have green and variegated foliage.

I had tried to have a lot of white plants when we had the house.

Camellia Collection: This is the most important collection of plants at Leu Gardens. The foundation of this collection are the cultivars of Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua originally planted by Mr. Leu and his workers. Today, over 2,000 plants and 230+ cultivars are displayed throughout the gardens, including displays of Camellia sinensis, which is the Tea Camellia, and other Camellia species. This collection ranks among the largest in the United States and is one of the largest documented collections in the southeast.

A 15-acre (61,000 m2) section of the park is a U.S. historic district. As such, it is known as the Mizell-Leu House Historic District (or Leu Botanical Gardens and Leu House Museum).According to the National Register of Historic Places, it contains 3 historic buildings.

Its first owners, David William and Angeline Mizell, arrived in the area in 1858. After David Mizell became Orange County's sheriff and was killed in an ambush in 1870, he was buried in a family plot on the land, in Orlando's first Masonic funeral.

Cemetery: The Mizell Cemetery contains 36 marked and unmarked graves of family members including David and Angeline Mizell, the original owners of the land that is now Harry P. Leu Gardens. There are tombstones that are dated to the 1860s.

Citrus worker sculptures.

Herb Garden: Displays of culinary, medicinal, ornamental, educational, historic, and aromatic herbs, some of which are also butterfly attractants, make up this garden. Reminiscent of kitchen gardens from the turn of the century, herbs appropriate for the Central Florida landscape are demonstrated near the Cottage. It, along with the Vegetable Garden, makes up the Kitchen Garden and may change with the seasons.

Vegetable Garden: This is a new area of the Garden which will contain both vegetables that were grown in the 1800s and varieties suitable for today’s gardener.

Rose Garden: Mary Jane's Rose Garden is named after Mrs. Leu, whose favorite flower was the rose. 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.

At the heart of the Gardens is Harry and Mary Jane Leu’s home, known as the Leu House Museum, which has been meticulously restored and is on the National Historical Register. Guided tours of the Leu House, illustrating turn-of-the century Florida living, are available.

The eleven rooms had been decorated for Christmas.

A self-made man in the Horatio Alger style, he built one of the largest supply businesses in Florida. Harry P. Leu Inc. sold everything from fence material to firefighting equipment — engines, pumps, motors, all kinds of metal building supplies and every kind of hardware imaginable.

Florida's growing industries — railroads, sawmills, citrus growers, turpentine distillers, phosphate miners — needed the parts and equipment that Leu had to sell.

By 1932, his prominence in Orlando was such that his Pennsylvania wedding to Mary Jane Schmidli was reported on the front page of the morning newspaper.
Leu, who was 48 and had never married, "has for years been considered the most perennial in the Orlando colony of perennial bachelors," according to the writer.

Quite rare for the times, a walk-in shower.

Afte Mr. Leu's death, Mrs. Leu moved into this bedroom and papered it with her favourite flowers, roses.


  1. Camellia is one plant that I wish would grow in New York State.

  2. What an interesting place to visit. Maybe now that we live in the west we will visit the east to explore!

  3. Wonderful gardens and such an interesting historic home! Loved your lovely photos. Looks like an amazing place to visit.

  4. What a lovely estate - thank you so much for showing us the details! Camellia my second favorite flower:) Also love the wicker set outside, and the second to last bedroom - lovely! Appreciative of your sharing your travels throughout last year with ALL SEASONS! That you may have a bright New Year, Jackie with many unexpected pleasant surprises!

  5. So much to see. I could spend days there. I especially like the statues of the workers. Great tribute to them.

  6. How beautiful the gardens are I bet!! I'd love to tour it myself, in person. The citrus grower sculptures are fantastic.

  7. This was a great tour...I really enjoyed it! What a beautiful place!

  8. Gorgeous gardens. What a great place. Loved the sculptures and the house. How lucky to see this in person.

  9. What a beautiful place to visit! I love your photographs and the whole story on this post.

  10. The whole place is beautiful, but it was the citrus workers who won my heart!! Happy New Year Jackie and Happy Travels!

  11. The Citrus Workers Sculptures were the highlight for me. Thanks for linking up this year.

  12. Glad to discover interesting places to visit in Orlando. Gardens are some of my favorite places to visit (more when they have a historic component). Thanks a lot for linking with #TPThursday. Have a great year!

  13. Hi, Jackie. I love gardens and this one is beautiful. We've both been smelling the cameillas recently! Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

  14. We never seem to get beyond Disney World whenever we are in Orlando, so it's nice to see what else there is to visit. I always enjoy gardens and historic houses. Both of these look beautiful. I especially like the bromeliads.

  15. A wonderful virtual tour documented with great photos and text, Jackie!
    Thanks for taking part in the Travel Tuesday meme. Happy New Year!

  16. What a nice place to discover, I love the statues in the orchard.

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