Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: More of Centennial Park Conservatory

A creative tropical paradise

mannequin covered in succulents

Cherry Ong is taking us along on more of her visit to Centennial Park Conservatory outside of Toronto. She visited in March, when it was still snowy outside but full of life and beauty inside.

botanical mannequins covered in succulents and spanish mossFeatured in the tropical greenhouse were these gorgeous botanical mannequins wearing beautiful gowns of living plants.

mannequin covered in succulentsThis mannequin’s dress is made of sturdy succulents, and the hair is Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides, Zones 7–12).

close up of sculpture with succulents and air plantsThis one changes it up, with sedum hair and a scarf of Spanish moss draped around its neck. Succulents and airplants like Spanish moss are great choices for this kind of living sculpture, as they’ll thrive with little soil (or no soil at all in the case of airplants), so the whole structure can be lighter and easier to work with.

close up of cardboard cycad foliageI think this is the cardboard cycad, Zamia furfuracea (Zones 10–12). It is endangered in its native Mexico, but popular as a houseplant or greenhouse plant.

close up of floss silk tree bark with spikesThe viciously spiny trunk of floss silk tree (Chorisia speciosa, Zones 10–12)

garden pond surrounded by tropical plantsThis explosion of lush, tropical growth is perfect for escaping the Canadian winter.

Screwpine in a greenhouse with long twisting branchesScrewpine (Pandanus tectorius, Zones 10–12) is growing into a living sculpture in the greenhouse.

rusty metal sunflowersThough it was still cold out, these metal sunflowers were blooming outside the conservatory.

greenhouse garden with lots of flowers and tropical plantsBack inside, numerous flowers were tucked in amid the tropical foliage. Tall amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrids, Zones 9–12) flowers here look right at home.


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  1. sheila_schultz 04/21/2023

    Just thinking about all the time, manipulation and plant product the construction of these glorious succulent beauties took. I'm in awe and exhausted all at the same time! Whew!!! They are glorious, Cherry. Thanks for spiking our imaginations. If I lived in the sultry south, I'd be tempted... have a creative weekend in your gardens everyone!

    1. perenniallycrazy 04/29/2023

      I miss your work! Wish you had a book.

  2. btucker9675 04/21/2023

    Gorgeous!!! Love those creative, beautiful mannequins and the rusty metal sunflowers... What a wonder place!

    1. perenniallycrazy 04/29/2023

      Totally! A fun visit for sure!

  3. User avater
    simplesue 04/24/2023

    You always go on the most amazing gardening trips! Thanks for sharing!

    1. perenniallycrazy 04/29/2023

      You’re welcome.

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