Towards the end of March, when the winter season has overstayed its welcome, we gardeners here in the northern part of the world, start to feel a desperate need for even a little green.
The final days of winter can be endlessly grey and the garden seems only to offer up the following adjectives: drab and brown.
And so it was, one Sunday a few weeks ago, my husband and I went in search of
a little bit of spring color.
Now who would have thought, that on our little Sunday adventure, we might discover
banana trees growing in the heart downtown Toronto?
But there they were, under the protective dome of a glass conservatory called Allan Gardens!
As I found myself gazing up at big bunches of green bananas, I found myself thinking,"I have lived in the greater Toronto area for over 25 years, how is it I have never been here before?"
It didn't even cost anything to get in for pete's sake!
At Christmas time, Allan Gardens has a huge display of poinsettias and amaryllis.
In March and April, the conservatory is filled with spring bulbs.
Even here, a gardeners work is never done!
I love the way the sweeping branches of this Norfolk Pine gesture
for you to reach out and touch them.
There were delightful textural stories everywhere.
At the end of our Sunday afternoon, we went home feeling grateful for this
tiny piece of the tropics in the heart of our big, northern city.
More information and Links:
Allan Gardens is a botanical jewel that includes six greenhouses and an historic cast-iron and glass domed "Palm House".
It is located on the south side of Carlton Street between Jarvis and Sherbourne Streets in Toronto.
Admission is free.
Hours of operation: 10 am to 5 pm
There is limited free parking available off Horticultural Ave.
I thought that I might mention that we here as far north as zone 5 can now enjoy a little bit of the tropics right in our own backyards! Though currently sold out, Gardenimports has on offer a Basjoo banana tree from the Ryuku islands of Japan. This banana tree has sturdy, fibrous stems that support 3' leaves. Bananas like rich soil, require full sun to light shade, and need some wind protection to keep their leaves from becoming tattered.
Though they are the world's hardiest banana trees, the Basjoo does need extra winter protection. It may be best grown in a pot and over-wintered in a cool, dry place like a garage.
For more information, click the links.