Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Taste of a Summer Garden in March

There is a lovely park not far from our son’s condo that contains a large group of greenhouses and a large domed conservatory. The last time we visited it was closed due to the pandemic, but on a walk the other day, I found a sign noting “Alan Gardens Conservatory Entrance” way around the back of the greenhouses. We decided to go and check it out the next good day. 

Allan Garden Conservatory

And after two days of miserable cold weather, we were ready for a tour or a conservatory full of tropical plants and flowers. 

Apparently there is work being done on the facility, so the normal entrances are not being used; thus the obscure back entrance through the storage and work areas. The advantage to this is that the hard to find and access entrance may have discouraged people from visiting, so the people we shared the conservatory with were few and well spaced, so it was a comfortable environment. 

Maskie is the new 'selfie'

Looking up the history of the Allan Gardens Conservatory informed me that the park itself dates back to 1858, when a local politician Mr. Allan donated land to the Horticultural Society for a garden. The city purchased surrounding lands from Mr. Allan in 1864 on the condition that the gardens be open to the public and free of charge. The first pavilion was built in 1879, and the city added an updated conservatory in 1894, but this structure burnt down in 1902. In 1910, the domed ‘Palm House’ was built and still stands today with the addition of additional greenhouses and other structures, creating the beautiful 17 acre facility that we got to experience. 

More Cacti than I thought possible

Walking in the back door into a glass greenhouse on a chilly March afternoon was indeed a pleasant experience; it was warm and the smell of flowers drifted through the buildings. The first part we entered was a room full of cactus and other succulents. It was an amazing collection of cacti, many that I have never seen. As we continued through room after room full of plants and flowers we finally arrived at the “Palm House” with the high glass dome; truly spectacular with the March sun shining through the glass heating the humid greenhouse full of brilliant blooms. It was a good thing there were not many people visiting with us because the pathways winding through the greenhouses are narrow and the beautiful plants surrounding you crowd the pathways; not a lot of room to pass others. It was amazing how many plants were growing in here.

They crowd the pathways, hang from the ceilings and metal supports and fill every available area, with absolutely no wasted space. Everywhere you looked was another beautiful flower or exotic plant. We continued through room after room of plants and flowers and even a pond of goldfish with a fountain and statue and another full of turtles. Until we finally exited back out to the chilly March day. 

This was a wonderful way to spend an hour or so on a March afternoon, and there was so much to see and experience that we plan to go back again soon, because I know there were things we missed. It is actually hard to describe the beauty of the place, so I will leave the photos to help me in this goal. 

Lots of turtles doing "turtle stuff"

Statue in the gold fish pond

Interesting 'rolly-polly' cacti

Such an interesting colour

The 'Palm House', but where are the palm trees?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is amazing! I want to visit this place. Thanks for the pictures. Beautiful!