Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: Allan Gardens Conservatory

A bit of the tropics in Toronto

green papaya growing on a tree

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.

red details on plant stemsSometimes 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.

a cluster of different cacti and succulentsNodding pink flowers of kalanchoe (I think Kalanchoe delagoensis, Zones 10–11) rise amid the unusual forms of succulents and cacti.

large tropical orange flowersMost 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.

green papaya growing on a treeIt 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.

close up of an unusual fernStaghorn 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.

clusters of green berries on a plantBerries are developing on this Fatsia (Zones 7–10). These evergreen shrubs are close relatives of English ivy (Hedera helix, Zones 5–9) and bloom in winter with huge sprays of small white flowers.

large red tropical flowerAt certain stages of their development, the blooms of Amorphophallus konjac (Zones 6–11) smell pretty terrible. The scent attracts flies, which pollenate them.

red flower on a succulentThe bloom spike of this Aloe is about to open up.

close up of a palm treeThe bases of the leaves of this palm are heavily armed with spikes. The yellow clusters are flowers getting ready to bloom.

large palm leavesPalm 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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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/31/2022

    Great pics!

  2. PG20 03/31/2022

    Fiji Fan Palm?

    1. User avater
      simplesue 03/31/2022

      I think you're right about that being a Fiji Fan Palm!

  3. user-5117752 03/31/2022

    Fabulous pics and descriptions! Thank you!!!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 03/31/2022

    Your photo of the Staghorn fern up close at the base is really nice- they just amaze me- rootless wonders.
    You mention how certain blooms attract flies and others attract bats...I'm so used to thinking of butterflies and bees as pollinators.

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