The Harry P. Leu Gardens in Winter Park (Orlando) is one of the finest botanical gardens in the State. The garden hosts one of the largest camellia collections in the United States and the largest formal rose garden in Florida. The well-manicured and beautifully landscaped property boasts three miles of paved trails and roads meandering through 50 acres of floral splendor.
Named after the previous property owner, Harry P. Leu, was a successful Florida businessman and horticulturalist. He purchased the property in 1936 and he and his wife spent the next quarter century cultivating their diverse and exotic collection of 40 different plant collections with over 8,000 plant species
The garden actively promotes itself as one of Orlando’s premiere wedding photography locations, and for good reason. The garden has indeed become a popular spot noted for its colorful backdrops and convenient amenities. Call ahead to book, as there are fees associated with professional photographers to use the grounds.
Amateur photographers, however, can have a field day. Pay the nominal $10.50 admission ($9.00 Florida residents) and any number of colorful flowers, exotic plants, trees and bushes can be in seen. The Leu Garden's website offers a guide as to what is in seasonal bloom.
There is a working vegetable and herb garden, bamboo and palm gardens, a butterfly garden, an arid and succulent area as well as a tropical rainforest section that runs along the edges of Lake Rowena. The gazebo and observation deck overlooking the lake is a popular stop.
The park offers night time open air movies, storytelling days and nature classes and camps. The hours are 9–5 every day, closed December 25 with free admission on Mondays.
Although part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Telephoto Florida recommends Leu Garden as just that, a botanical garden that will take your breath away.
An alternate choice for the avid birder would be Mead Garden, a mere five minute drive to the north. Take in both gardens if in the area and if time permits. The address is 1920 North Forest Avenue Orlando, FL 32803.