Sunday, 9 December 2012

Allen Gardens, Toronto

Early in the history of Toronto a horticulturist - Mr Allen - talked the City Fathers into leaving a good-sized block of land undeveloped so that he could create a park. That park still exists as a large rectangular piece of land bounded on all four sides by busy commuter streets - Jarvis, Carlton, Sherbourne and Gerrard.  Midway between Carlton and Gerrard - but closer to Jarvis than to Sherbourne  - he had a huge greenhouse erected. That structure still exists and is named 'Allen Gardens'.

It is now Christmas 2012 in Toronto and - although there is no snow as yet - it is cold. One respite from the bitterness of the air is a visit to those gardens. As we are now near Christmas, there will be many poinsettia plants on display in there - as well as other 'season appropriate' flowers and shrubs.

I have visited those gardens during the Christmas season as well as at Easter. The photos that I am showing here were taken during a visit on Good Friday a few years ago. For this blog - again this is more of a photo album than a dissertation.

Upon entering the greenhouses, one finds oneself in a large atrium which is circular and around which is a pathway as well as two paths crossing from north to south and from east to west. The north/south route connects with doors leading into glassed in rooms where the temperatures are kept at a constant sub-tropical level. Taking the south path the adjacent room is humid and in there one sees orchids and other tropical plants. The room reached by the north path is more temperate - although another 'wing' is kept arid and features many cacti.

The photos are a collage of beautiful flowers from temperate, tropical and desert zones. The above photo - taken on the Good Friday visit - is of tulips.


                                               It isn't Spring without daffodils!

I do not know the name of these plants which bordered the walkway. No doubt at least one of the readers will be able to identify them.

                                                   I love the vividness of these colors.

I do not know the name of this flowering plant - nor the names of many others.

One can almost smell the perfume emanating from this blossom.

                                                               Isn't this a type of lily?

                                                               Beatiful colours!

                                              A yellow nasturtium?

When I was four or five years old we lived next to an elderly English couple who had a beautiful flower garden. Included in that garden were flowers like the ones shown above which they said were 'Sweet Williams'. Are these flowers so named?

These photos were taken in the room on the southside of the greenhouse - and many of these blossoms appear to be lilies.

                                                     More lilies.
Both the south and the north wings of the greenhouses slope downwards so there are ponds at the bottom end.
In the south wing there is a 'statue' of a goddess as well as gold fish (carp) in the pond

                   I have no idea as to the name of these flowers but they look tropical to me.

                                                         It looked lonely all by itself

                                                    Some purple flowers amidst the daisies.

                                                         An explosion of colours

I find these blossoms (the red and white ones) to be quite intriguing.

                                                                 Another lone lily

Although of different hues, all of the above seem to belong to the same plant family.

                                 I have no idea as to what plant these blossoms belong - cacti?

                                  A photo of an unnamed plant and a closeup of the blossom.

                                                Found in the more arid part of the gardens.

                                              To close - a yellow (folowed by a red) hibiscus

Through a comment that I overheard, I looked up towards the ceiling as I was exiting the rotunda. Sure enough, I was standing beneath a banana plant and, Yes, Virginia! bananas really grow in Toronto!!!!


  1. Great writing on Allen Gardens.It is without doubt one of my favorite parts of Toronto.Of course,my favorite thing to do there was to watch all the goings on in the dog park on the north end of the park along Carleton Street.

  2. Michale - I share that fascination with the dog parks - not only at Allen Gardens but elsewhere in the city. The dogs seem to be enjoying such a great time there while socializing with the other dogs.

  3. Dogs are some of my favorite people.