03 Jun

A Visit to Allan Gardens Conservatory, Toronto

Allan Gardens Conservatory is my favorite retreat from the hum drum of corporate life. It is a serene oasis jewelled right in the middle of the busy Carlton, Jarvis and Gerrard streets of Toronto. The garden that hosts conservatory has long stretches of green grass and more than 300 old trees. Some noticeable species are sugar maple, American beech and red oak.

The conservatory consists of six greenhouses that cover 1, 6000 square feet and house a huge variety of tropical, sub-tropical and exotic plants that are rare to find under one roof.
While crossing through the greenhouses you actually move from one climate to another and experience a whole new world of lovely plants in each climate. Neat pathways edge along plant beds that are nicely maintained.

The tropical houses maintain warm and humid environment for exotic Orchids, bromeliads, begonias and other plants that bloom year-round. You can find many hard-to-find plants like Jade vine, Platycerium, cycads, and some exotic foliage plants. The water features inside the tropical houses not only decorate the conservatory but also help maintain the climate.

The ‘cool’ house has selection of Mediterranean plants. The Palm House grows a nice variety of palms, tropical vines and some seasonal plants. The arid house showcases cacti and other succulents that include varieties of haworthia, aloe, agave, and sedum.

Besides permanent collection, you can see a nice collection of seasonal bloomers in Allan Gardens Conservatory. Depending on the season, you can find really nice variety of hydrangeas, lilies, coleus, caladiums, cannas, chrysanthemum, and poinsettia. Seasonal plants at Allan Gardens are grown in pots that are sunk in soil – making it easy to remove them at the end of the season.

On my recent visit to Allen Gardens, I was able to see Jade vine and angel’s trumpet in full bloom. Other noticeable bloomers were daffodils, gerberas, plenty of hydrangeas, some hoyas, bird of paradise, and foxgloves.

Allan Gardens Conservatory has a nice collection of ferns and air plants too. No matter what part of year you visit Allan Gardens, you will always find something interesting, colorful and aromatic.

Enjoy some of the pictures that I shot at Allan Gardens Conservatory. For high-resolution images, you can visit my Allan Gardens album on Flickr here. For more information on Allan Gardens, see this.

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25 May

Colorful Flowering Shrubs for Gardens: Cornus (Dogwoods)

Cornus is a genus of woody shrubs and small trees from temperate regions of the Americas, eastern Asia and Europe. Commonly known as Dogwood, the genus of Cornus offers a wide variety of flowering shrubs, foliage plants, and small trees for almost any soil type. The flowering species like Cornus kousa are grown for their showy bracts that appear in spring and early summer. The deciduous species like Cornus alba are grown for their uniquely colorful stems whereas the winter flowering species like Cornus mas are grown in colder climates.

Cornus florida/ Image by Margit

Cornus florida/ Image by Margit

Most species of Cornus are quite easy to grow. They are not fussy about their growing requirements and do well in almost any soil. They are frost hardy plants that grow 10 to 20 feet in height but are easily pruned to achieve desired shapes. These lovely plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings and require full to partial sun. Generally, Cornus grow well in rich, well-drained but lightly moist soil under sunny conditions.

Popular species of Cornus include:

Cornus kousa (Kousa dogwood) grows as a small deciduous tree with dense and fresh green foliage. The plant produces lovely flowers or bracts of cream color in early spring followed by formation of berry-like drupes.

Cornus alba (Siberian dogwood) is a deciduous shrub that produces woody branches and small flowers. The plant is grown for winter interest when it sheds its leaves and wears hues of bright-crimson on its twigs.

Cornus alba

Cornus alba/ Image by Marion Wacker

Cornus x ‘Venus is grown for its splendid creamy flowers that appear in mid-summer. The plant grows as a small tree and attains the height of 10 to 12 feet.

Cornus x rutgersensis ‘Stellar Pink’ is a lovely plant with dark green foliage that changes many colors (orange, red, yellow and pink) before falling in autumn. The plant blooms in summer and grows up to 20 feet.

Cornus kousa ‘Miss Satomi’ is a known for its dense and prominent pink flowers that appear in summer. It makes a lovely addition to the garden because of its pink flowers and autumn foliage.

Because of their flowers, colorful foliage and interesting stem colors, Cornus are popular plants among horticulturists and gardens who use them in garden borders, garden screens, and mass plantation schemes.

03 May

Wonderful Topiary Designs by Steve Manning

Steve Manning is a renowned topiary artist. He is known for his creative designs and wonderful skill of incarnating creatures in topiaries. His topiary designs include both living and artificial topiaries and are seen at exhibitions, garden shows, civic amenities, theme parks and landscapes. Some of his topiary creatures have won international recognition and fame.

Following are a few examples of his topiary designs. All pictures are taken from his website http://www.topiaryartdesigns.com.

Allegator topiary

animal topiary

Dogs topiary

Hipo topiary

Hunter topiary
Jiraffe topiary

Steve Manning topiary

Topiary design

07 Apr

Urban Landscape Designs by Alex Hanazaki

Today’s post features some beautiful examples of urban landscape designs by a landscape designer Alex Hanazaki. The landscape designs of Alex are a beautiful mix of complementing textures, colors, and forms – all blended perfectly with modern urban settings. The use of ornamental grasses in his landscape designs is an example of how simple yet beautiful a landscape design can be developed in urban lands.

The following is a selection of lovely urban landscape designs developed by Alex Hanazaki. (All image are taken from Alex Hanazaki website http://www.alexhanazaki.com.br/)

Grass for Landscape Design

 

Landscape

 

Landscape design

 

Landscape with grass

 

Landscape with grasses

 

Lovely Landscape Design

 

Modern Garden

 

Modern Landscape

 

Poolside Landscape

 

Poolside Trees

 

Simple Urban Landscape

 

Urban Garden Design

 

Urban Landscape

 

Urban Landscape Design

 

Urban Landscape Idea