Under the main dome, filled with palms reaching up to touch the glass.
The wonderful thing about Allan Gardens Conservatory is you can be satisfied and invigorated by visiting for just 15 minutes or by spending as long as 45. Take a quick walk through the entire complex to enjoy the colours, fragrance and humid air, or, leisurely stroll the meandering pathways, examining the large and sometimes tiny specimens, many of them exotics (for Ontario), all of them meticulously cared for. The city horticulturalists pack hundreds of species into the half dozen greenhouses; some seem to have been there forever and some are obviously seasonal. Here are a few of my favourites from the permanent collection and the current Spring Blooms installation.
From the spring show – lots of Muscari, Narcissus, Hyacinth and Tulips, plus the occasional surprise, like Winter Aconite.
This koi pond is there year-round, but the Rhododendron is now in bloom!
Also in bloom is Agapanthus – I’ve heard it being called a weed in more tropical parts of the world but here, not so much! I love the blue flowers. And this variegated Brugmansia is quite spectacular.
Surprising for me was this patch of kale, left to flower – the yellow flowers are really quite beautiful when massed like this – and the lemon tree! I wonder if the staff enjoy G&T’s after closing time…
There are lots of succulents and cacti in the desert house, some of them so tall they’re brushing the roof. For me, this quartet epitomizes the look. If I lived in Arizona or New Mexico I’d likely have a bunch of them on either side of the front walkway.
Seen in the metal roof struts; I wonder what he’s found to chomp on…
We have lots of rabbits around the County. I see them every year, all summer long, hopping into the tall grass along side roads, or in the middle of the driveway at night, eyes bright and ears tall in the headlights before they disappear into the shadows.
What I mostly see in winter are trails in the snow, sometimes ending at the base of a shrub, where the paw prints become muddled with their pellets and half eaten branches. In past years I’ve surrounded the tastier shrubs with cut buckthorn branches – one of the very few positive uses I will grudgingly ascribe to this invasive and really annoying shrub. I didn’t bother this past fall because the past two winters have been mild – rabbits had more appealing choices to nibble on. This year, with a return to normal snow falls, the varmints have targeted the tender young bark and dormant buds of their favourite woody plants.
Also targeted, interestingly enough, have been two purple kales – leaves and stalks – but not a green kale. Here’s a photo of them in September and one from last week. You can see the naked stalks of the purple kale stalk but the green one has simply died with nary a nibble. Weird eh?
Burning Bush – Euonymus alatus – the usual target of hungry rabbits in the back field. No need for me to prune, rabbits do it all.
Korean Spice Viburnum – Viburnum carlesii – a new target this year.
End Note… Also seen last weekend —bits of rabbit fur, blood, guts….I think the local coyote may have discovered his or her own source of food this winter; perhaps my shrubs are safe after all…