Saturday, 27 March 2010

A patch of heaven in downtown Toronto!

This post is for Helen of Toronto Gardens - we met this week in her home city (that's Helen on the right) and had the chance to talk about gardens, horticulture and blogging - as well as other things - and she's a wonderful lady!
It's all thanks to Helen that I got to see one of the most remarkable gardens I've visited on my travels - the Allan Gardens Conservatory - right in the heart of Cabbage Town in Toronto - an absolute gem! It's open daily from 10.00 to 5.00 and it's free - a series of garden rooms inside greenhouses, ranging from the cactus room to the spring flowers, but topped by a fantastic roof (top) which will leave you gasping on a day like today when the sky in Toronto was the same as a Carolina blue sky!
This morning was cold .... very cold, with a biting wind and sub-zero temperatures, but once I got inside the greenhouses, I was transported into a magical land of flowers. But what's really interesting about this garden is that if Helen hadn't told me about it, I would never have found it! It's not listed in the Toronto tourist guides; it doesn't appear in any of the great garden guides and for all intents and purposes, you wouldn't know it's there! But I for one, am putting it on the map because it's just too good to miss.
The spring flowers here are absolutely incredible with great displays of tulips and daffodils - in colours that I've never seen anywhere else - incredible purple tulips and daffodils with pink hearts - planted in huge clusters that will make your heart leap. And then there's the underplanting so that everywhere you look, you have amazing colour combinations!
Wander through the various conservatories and you'll see a range of different landscapes - from dense spring flowers to magnificent hydrangea displays and arid desert scenes - all in glasshouses in the middle of the city. If I lived in Toronto, I'd drop in all the time to catch this little patch of heaven!
What's so amazing about these lovely gardens is that there are only four gardeners looking after them - I chatted to one while I was there - and the floral displays are constantly changing throughout the seasons. This is definitely worth making a detour for - because it's the most wonderful surprise in the heart of a bustling city!
I was lucky because I was there on a beautiful sunny day (after getting soaked at Niagara the day before!), but I know that this garden would lift my spirits on any day!

11 comments:

  1. Welcome to Toronto! I'm so glad you found our hidden gem-Allan Gardens. It always bring some warmth to a cold Canadian day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are more and more great reasons to visit Toronto...This garden is one of them. What a treasure it is. Thank you (and Helen) for this delightful tour. gail

    ReplyDelete
  3. We LOVE Allan Gardens. It's our little bit of sanity in the coldest days of winter here in Canada. Maybe I will get a chance to meet you next time you pass by these parts.

    Sarah from Toronto Gardens.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is very beathtaking garden. It is good you got a good guide to help you find this hidden gem! I can not imagine only four gardeners maintain this garden with so many variety of plants/flowers... Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, that is very beautiful! Makes me wish I ahd gone there when I visited Toronto. Back then I wasn't so interested in gardening...:P

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad you're enjoying your trip! I haven't been to the Allan Gardens Conservatory; my trips to Toronto were always for writerly business when I sat on the board of PWAC, except one flying trip in which I did the Toronto Bot. Gardens. Maybe this summer I'll get up for a proper tour, though I have my sites set on the Gaspé for a trip this year.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How strange that the gardens are not included in a tourist guide as they look very interesting. Perhaps someone wants them to remain a secret!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The gardens are beautiful, but the greenhouse is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful, Charlotte. You inspired me to visit there today myself. I love the Spring show especially. Glad I was able to point you there -- and that you got to see it in sunshine. It was lovely to see you. Hope you had a safe journey.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is funny but there are so many Canadians that don't know there are beautiful places like this at the "eastern" end of our country .. eastern in perspective of so many thinking British Columbia .. Vancouver etc ..
    Wish I had also visited there as well when I could have : ) Gorgeous breath of Spring when we have been SNAPPED back in winter temps !
    Joy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Its funny how citys often forget to mention their gardening gems on tourist literature maybe they think tourists wont be that interested in gardens

    ReplyDelete