Visiting the Arid House

This weekend, on Sunday March 12, daylight saving time begins in my corner of the world. I am looking forward to more greenery and warmer temperatures outdoors. In the interim, I cycled to Allan Gardens Conservatory and visited the Arid House, one of five greenhouses in this indoor botanical garden.

Exploring the Arid House

The Arid House is located on the northwest side of the conservatory. It is home to a large display of unusual cacti and succulents including collections of agave, opuntia, haworthia and aloe.

The Arid House

Walking through the Arid House, I enjoyed examining the plants, their shapes, sizes, and colours. Their fun names made me smile. I was mindful of where I was standing to take pictures as many of the plants have thorns.

Golden Barrel Cacti and Haworthia (Zebra plants)
Mother of Thousands
Blue Chalk Sticks
Crown of Thorns
Assorted Cacti
Orange Kalanchoe

The Arid House was nice and warm. I felt rejuvenated and relaxed after being with the plants. I headed home feeling pretty good about my choice of outing for the day.

Welcoming Public Art

Last week I stopped over at Philadelphia International Airport while on my way to meet my sisters. I discovered the beautiful Over the River and Through the Wood mural created by Philadelphia artist Constance Culpepper. I found the mural soothing and cheerful.

Over the River and Through the Wood mural by Constance Culpepper
About the artist and her art

“My painting is a place where everyone is welcome. Explore, smell the peonies, drink a cup of tea, feel the grass between your toes, look up at the clouds in the sky, take a seat. Maybe here, you can discover something or someone anew.”

Constance Culpepper

Weekend Coffee Share

How green is your corner of the world? What do you think of the mural? This post is my contribution to Terri’s #SundayStills March colour challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #110 InLinkz below.

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Happy Easter Weekend

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #65! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 15/ 52

It was a week of sunny days, periods of showers, and above normal temperatures that reached 18C (64F) on Wednesday afternoon. I’m thinking of good things that happened this week.

1. Friendship

One of my longtime friends lives in the suburbs, about an hour drive from me. She had appointments downtown yesterday so we arranged to meet for coffee. It was a happy reunion because even though we’ve been in touch, we haven’t seen each other for over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winter aconites – Yellow is often seen as the universal colour of friendship

2. Garden walks

I took several lovely garden walks this week. In any garden, especially in spring, a walk is a sensory and therapeutic experience. At least, I see flowers, hear bird songs, smell the freshly churned soil, and feel the coolness in the air and the warmth of sunlight.

My neighbourhood looks more and more beautiful every day as we get further into spring. Sunlight, rain, and warmer temperatures have sped up plant growth. I enjoy looking out for early spring flowers in gardens. They are emerging and showing off their cheerful colours.

3. Birding

I saw beautiful red cardinals, American robins, European starlings, and red-winged blackbirds. They were all singing their wonderful bird songs. Toronto is on one of the major bird migration paths so we have many bird species year-round. I feel fortunate to hear the sounds of nature so clearly while living in a big city. I also found four new cute birdhouses.

4. Photography

I went through my pictures taken at Allan Gardens Conservatory and had fun creating an Orchid slideshow. I’ve seen most of these orchid varieties in stores, except the Bell orchid tree from tropical Africa. Their beauty brightens my day and transports me to faraway places. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the images.

5. Books

Three e-books that I requested from the library arrived. They were new releases in January and February 2022. Two of the books are from familiar authors, and one is a debut novel from a new-to-me author. I’m excited to read new books and discover new authors. I love my library’s digital services and the convenience of e-books. I keep track of what I’ve read here.


That wraps up Week 15 of 2022. In spite of mixed weather, it was a lovely week. Trees are in bloom, birds are singing, good coffee and new books are waiting. I look forward to a relaxing weekend with my family and Week 16 coming up. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend.

How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #Lens-Artist Challenge, #PPAC, #SpringFestival, #ThursdayDoors.

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What’s Blooming at Allan Gardens?

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #64! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 14/ 52

While waiting for more spring flowers to show up outdoors, I cycled to Allan Gardens Conservatory, located in downtown Toronto, to see what’s blooming. I had so much fun exploring the Conservatory. The first two pictures in this post are from my archive. The remaining pictures are new from the visit.

Allan Gardens Conservatory

The domed Allan Gardens Conservatory was initially built in 1909 by Robert McCallum in a neo-Classical and Edwardian style. It was expanded several times during the 1920s, in 1956, 1957, and in 2004 with the addition of six greenhouses.

Allan Gardens Conservatory.
Allan Gardens Conservatory

Behind the ordinary white doors, in total, the Conservatory’s six greenhouses cover approximately 1,500 square metres (16,000 sq ft). Each with its own distinct climate and associated plant collection:

  1. Arid House for cacti and succulents such as barrel cactus, jade plant, agave and aloe.
  2. Orchid House for a stunning collection of orchids and bromeliads mixed with a variety of flowering tropical plants and vines.
  3. Palm House also known as ‘The Dome’ contains palms, bananas and other tall plants.
  4. Temperate House for citrus, olive trees, and seasonal floral displays.
  5. Tropical Landscape House for plants like cycads, gingers, hibiscus and a jade vine.
  6. Children’s Conservatory is closed to the public but offers horticultural programs for children.
Looking up the dome of Allan Gardens Conservatory.
Looking up the 16-sided dome of Allan Gardens Conservatory

Inside the Conservatory, from floor to ceiling and on both sides of the pathways, are numerous plants, some with stunning flowers and some with fruits.

Inside Allan Gardens.
Inside Allan Gardens Conservatory

Two small ponds with soft sounds of water and distinct features add to the charms of the gardens.

Koi fish pond.
At the Koi pond, bright koi fish swim around Leda and the Swan sculpture
Turtle pond.
At the Turtle pond, turtles pile up to warm themselves in the sun

Below is a sample of what’s blooming during my visit. I save the cacti and orchids for future posts. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

It was a wonderful visit to see so many gorgeous plants and landscape designs in a charming setting. Allan Gardens once again gave me warmth and a mood booster. I’m thankful for nature’s leafy beauty worlds away yet close to home.

Allan Gardens Conservatory is open year round. Admission is free. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conservatory provides a few spectacular flower shows annually. I hope the flower shows resume this year as I look forward to revisiting the Conservatory.

Was any of the flowers in my slideshow new to you? How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #LifesStories, #PPAC43, #SpringFestival2022.

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