When the weather outside is frightening… we prescribe Allan Gardens for an injection of the tropics. Sarah and I recently dropped by an hour before closing for quick, medicinal treatment from their Christmas display.
That jumble of colour at the bottom right above doesn’t make a great photo, but it does represent the joyous profusion that greets you inside.
“Who was Allan Gardens named after?
The park known as Allan Gardens was named after politician George William Allan, who originally owned the property. He gave part of the lands to the Toronto Horticultural Society in a series of transfers starting in 1860, and sold the rest of the lands to the society at a low cost to be used as a park and botanical gardens. The society ran into financial trouble, and deeded the lands to the City in 1889 for the same purpose.”
I love Allan Gardens at all times of year, but the three seasonal shows make it worth special excursions. I wrote about the spring show here back in March 2008. There’s also a fall show, which I’ve never seen, that focuses on chrysanthemums.
The winter show continues till January 10th, and this year showcases 40+ new varieties of Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), all of them labeled. (Though plant labeling in general seems spotty of late.)
In the Palm House, you can’t help but feel like a kid under the giant banana leaves. Here, a fauxpiary rocking horse is one of the successful seasonal decorations clustered between this year’s floral plantings.
Other set pieces (notably the gussied up Leda and the Swan fountain and some too-twiggy gold-painted branches hung with red balls) were oddly haphazard and incohesive. Dare I use the overused: random?
These minor quibbles aside, it’s hard not to love being here. Even when, like now, rain has dissolved any remnant of the wintery white stuff on Toronto’s streets.