Fifty acres of lush formal gardens hug the shores of Lake Rowena in this urban display of botanical diversity. The center of it all is the Leu House, purchased by Harry and Mary Jane Leu in 1936 – now a house museum – around which they developed their gardens.
Fees: $10 adult, $3 grades K-12. Free admission to all the first Monday of each month.
Open: 9-5 daily, with early closures for special events
Bringing back plants from their worldwide travels, the Leus were on a mission to beautify Orlando and gave many cuttings away to friends and neighbors. Over time, they developed the largest camellia collection in the United States outside of California, and Florida’s largest formal rose garden.
In 1961, the couple deeded their home and gardens to the City of Orlando, and it remains a horticultural showcase. Modern plantings include a lush tropical stream garden, a butterfly garden, and a garden of palms, bamboo, and cycads, all set beneath towering cypresses, oaks, and elms along the lake.
More than 3 miles of pathways wind through the many gardens and natural areas. At the gardens entrance, the Garden House provides space for community meetings, educational displays, and a colorful gift shop overflowing with books.