I’m back, a small update.

Maybe you haven’t noticed because of the Orchid posts that have been slowly popping up but I took a brief hiatus and now I’m back. I basically haven’t written anything new since about the 15th of February and I’m glad I had the Orchid pictures to fall back on because nothing else has really been happening here.

I’ve got some Crocuses starting to poke their way out of the ground, but recent cold temperatures have prevented them from growing in over a week now. The snowdrops are still under the snow so I have no idea what they’re doing.

My Chiloschista parishii that I got at the Orchid show this spring is going to open soon, but nothing yet. Two of my Episcias are in bud, again nothing open yet though. My pitcher plants are doing well again after being allowed to stay too dry for too long, one is even producing a new branch with the cutest little pitchers on it. There are also two new plants that I will have to take pictures of at some point.

I also spent a week watching someone’s Beagle while they were out of the country. So much separation anxiety but otherwise a great dog, fun to spend a week away from home too.

I did get an SB-600 flash just before the show but more recently I also picked up a new lens – 50mm f1.4. I could not be happier with this lens. It’s pretty good in low light though it’s not very sharp at f1.4/1.6. At f2 or higher though it’s brilliant.

Here are some pictures I took two days ago at the Toronto Zoo. Lots of Gingers coming out of bloom and Dracaenas coming into bloom. Many other plants doing interesting things too. I’ll have to go back soon to check out the Heliconias because last year in April they were already finished and so many of their relatives were in bloom in other areas.

Calliandra haematocephala 'Alba'
Calliandra haematocephala ‘alba’

Calliandra haematocephala
Calliandra haematocephala in its regular pink.

Ginger sp.
Some species of Ginger on its way out of bloom.

Ginger sp.
And another just starting.

Codiaeum variegatum
Codiaeum variegatum not blooming but being very attractive.

Crinum sp.
I suspect this is a species of Crinum, possibly C. calamistratum though the leaves are wider than I’m used to seeing.

Costus barbatus
Spiral Ginger or Costus barbatus was not flowering but I love the twist in the stem.

ID Plant (Possibly in Ginger Family?)
Right beside the Spiral Ginger was this plant, I have no idea what it was.

Strelitzia nicolai
Also nearby was this Strelitzia nicolai in bloom. There was one easier to see but it had already completely finished. This was maybe the highlight of the trip as I don’t think I’ve ever seen this species in bloom before. (Have to go back soon to check on the Heliconia!)

Pandanus utilis
Pandanus utilis – One of my favourite plants at the zoo, you can really see the spiral arrangement of the leaves in this picture.

Araucaria heterophylla
The ever present Araucaria heterophylla. I think that almost right beside this was one of the Zoo’s Wollemi pines. I hope not though because it was in awful shape but there was a good amount of new growth so many it just needs time to settle in and start growing again.

ID Aroid - Australasia Pavillion
I have no idea what this Aroid is but I need one.

And a few pictures I took that aren’t of plants:

Concave Casqued Hornbill
I could not have taken this picture with any other lens. you see that tight wire screen behind him? I was shooting through that, on a sharp angle and the shallow depth of field I was able to use with this lens let me just me ignore it completely. It did result in a bit of fuzziness but the picture’s got a sort of retro feel that I love.

Red-tailed Green Ratsnake


Because of low light and long distances I haven’t been able to get a good shot of the Orangutans or Gorillas until now. That Gorilla is Charles, who has been with the zoo almost since it opened in 1974.

Crocodile Newts
Another example of how this lens works in low light.

Clown Triggerfish
One of my favourite fish, typically hard to shoot anything in the zoo’s aquariums because of low light. The fact that there was no one else in the pavilion was a definite plus and I got a lot of opportunity to shoot as long as I wanted (tip – visit your local zoos etc on the off season, you’ll basically have the place to yourself).

Blue-gridled Angelfish
Stunning angelfish.

Hopefully some of my plants will start to do things soon though I suppose the new plants can fill another post. And with any luck spring will get here soon and that will bring even more to write about. I planted a lot of new things last year and it will be fun to see (hopefully) everything start to grow soon.


About Andrew

Plant lover living in Toronto, Canada where I grow a wide range of plants in a very small space.
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3 Responses to I’m back, a small update.

  1. Scott Weber says:

    Love getting a few lens…and those primes are sooo nice! I’m saving up for one too, but every time I get close, there’s some minor emergency that drains the fund 😦 Looks like there was some great flora and fauna…love those Heliconias…the light was just perfect for capturing their ephemeral beauty.

  2. Stunning photographs! Do you know what the plant in the first picture is?

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