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GPOD on the Road: Allan Gardens Conservatory

Barry Severn is taking us along on a trip to Allan Gardens Conservatory in Toronto. These kinds of urban conservatories are wonderful anywhere but are nearly essential in cities with long, cold winters like Toronto. They are wonderful places to slip off for a little tropical escape any time you need it.

red details on plant stemsSometimes enjoying a garden is about taking time to look at the tiniest of details, like the unusual fringed red hairs on the petioles of these Begonia leaves.

a cluster of different cacti and succulentsNodding pink flowers of kalanchoe (I think Kalanchoe delagoensis, Zones 10–11) rise amid the unusual forms of succulents and cacti.

large tropical orange flowersMost species of agaves grow for years—or even decades—before putting up one huge spire of flowers. The blooms are usually pollenated by bats that visit the huge sprays of flowers for the abundant nectar they produce.

green papaya growing on a treeIt is always interesting to see what tropical fruits look like on the plant. This papaya (Carica papaya, Zones 10–11) has set a nice crop.

close up of an unusual fernStaghorn ferns (Platycerium, Zones 10–11) produce two kinds of fronds. At the base are the shield fronds, which serve to anchor the plants to the trees where they live in the wild, and the spreading antler fronds, which do most of the photosynthesis. In this photo you can see a new, green shield frond growing out over the older brown one.

clusters of green berries on a plantBerries are developing on this Fatsia (Zones 7–10). These evergreen shrubs are close relatives of English ivy (Hedera helix, Zones 5–9) and bloom in winter with huge sprays of small white flowers.

large red tropical flowerAt certain stages of their development, the blooms of Amorphophallus konjac (Zones 6–11) smell pretty terrible. The scent attracts flies, which pollenate them.

red flower on a succulentThe bloom spike of this Aloe is about to open up.

close up of a palm treeThe bases of the leaves of this palm are heavily armed with spikes. The yellow clusters are flowers getting ready to bloom.

large palm leavesPalm experts, please let us know in the comments if you can identify the species. Whatever type it is, it sure is beautiful!


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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