Allan Gardens…a chance to come in out of the cold!

by Veronica on January 2, 2010

New Year’s day 2010 has come and gone, it’s minus 16 Celsius, I have a little cold and I’m semi-miserable (I usually have a sunny personality). My man (who is very wise) agreed take me out of my misery and transport me to a place that always lifts my spirits and hence is sure to lift his too. We headed for Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto where an indoor oasis covers 16,000 square feet. It features a permanent collection of plants that are enhanced during the holidays (until Jan 10, 2010) with seasonal plants and decorations.

The Colours of the Season

The Colours of the Season

I once remarked to that wise man in the photo above that I often wondered why I felt so relaxed, happy and content in a garden?  He simply smiled and said “Why wouldn’t you be?” And that’s how it is for me. Gardens and plants lift my mood and my spirits.

You’d have to be a real grump not to feel better once you step into this place.  Allan Gardens is one of my favourite tonics in the depths of winter.

We weren’t the only people looking for respite from the frigid weather. Here and there throughout the gardens artists of all ages were sketching their favourite plants.

Budding Artists

Budding Artists

The decorations hangng throughout the greenhouses were made from natural materials. I loved the dried slices of oranges. They hung like juicy, jewels. I feel a project coming on…

Slices of oranges dangle like jewels.

Slices of oranges dangle like jewels.

I was also smitten by the over sized baubles whose muted tones picked up the colours of the wreath of dried magnolia leaves and the seasonal berries that dangled nearby.

Big Baubles

Big Baubles

Though red is the traditional colour of Christmas, I’m a pink kind of a girl. Ornamental kale never fails to deliver the tints, tones and shades of pink and fuchsia that I find irresistible. Pair Kale with my other favourite winter blooming indoor plant …cyclamen, and I’m in botanical heaven.

Cyclamen and Kale

Cyclamen and Kale

Each year the gardening staff of the City of Toronto create a gorgeous topiary. Kids and adults alike are mesmerized by the artistry. This year it’s a rocking horse.

Rocking Horse Topiary

Rocking Horse Topiary

The small orchid collection is tucked safely behind a glass window. Behind that glass wall there were a few beautiful specimens of Jewel Orchids (Ludisia discolor). Seeing them reminded me that for awhile a long time ago I had a few. Unfortunately, I  managed to kill them. If  I can find a source for them, I’m going to give them another go.

Ludisia discolor, the black jewel orchid, is a terrestrial (it grows in soil) orchid  native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma.  In their natural environment, these orchids can be found growing on the forest floor. They have gorgeous velvety deep burgandy foliage with pinky- red veins. Sprays of exquisite, tiny white flowers open any time from December to February and like most orchids, last a month or more.

Jewel Orchid

Jewel Orchid

The cacti specimens in the “dry” greenhouse were in superb shape. Collectively they provide gardeners with an excellent example of how to effectively combine shape, size, form and texture. Splashes of colour add lots of interest.

Barrel Cacti

Barrel Cacti

Cacti House

Cacti House

Allan Gardens is a wheelchair accessible facility located at 19 Horticultural Avenue, on the south side of Carlton Street between Jarvis and Sherbourne. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is limited free parking off Horticultural Avenue. Call 416)392-7288.

Wheelchair accessible paths.

Wheelchair accessible paths.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Heather Bell January 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi Veronica – Allen Gardens is gorgeous as ever. I especially love the cactus walk.

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