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.
Sometimes 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.
Nodding pink flowers of kalanchoe (I think Kalanchoe delagoensis, Zones 10–11) rise amid the unusual forms of succulents and cacti.
Most 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.
It 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.
Staghorn 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.
At certain stages of their development, the blooms of Amorphophallus konjac (Zones 6–11) smell pretty terrible. The scent attracts flies, which pollenate them.
The bloom spike of this Aloe is about to open up.
The bases of the leaves of this palm are heavily armed with spikes. The yellow clusters are flowers getting ready to bloom.
Palm experts, please let us know in the comments if you can identify the species. Whatever type it is, it sure is beautiful!
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