The Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is only 500 meters south of Horseshoe Falls. Greenhouses in the area date to the time of Queen Victoria, but the current complex was built the mid 20th century with several subsequent additions, including a large central atrium. The complex includes space for storing bulbs, planting and growing new flowers for the Floral Showhouse (and elsewhere in Niagara Parks), but that is a behind the scenes activity that you won’t see. What the visitor experiences after walking through the lovely grounds (enjoyable in the summer, less so in the winter) is a series of greenhouses that contain lush tropical vegetation, making it especially popular during times of cold weather.
Plants you’ll see include orchids and cacti, and many tropical plants that are often changed throughout the year. There are eight floral shows a year, including a popular one around the Christmas Holidays, enticing locals and visitors to return for more than one visit.
One of most popular plants in the Floral Showcase is Titan Arum, the world’s tallest (un-branched) flower — and one of the worst smelling plants in existence. The plant originates from Sumatra, Indonesia, and uses its foul scent to attract carrion-eating insects to help it pollinate. Apparently analysis of the smell has revealed a delightful chemical cocktail including elements found in limburger cheese, rotting fish and sweaty socks.
Titan Arum grows from its underground corm (like a huge potato). With time the corm gets larger and after about 10 years reaches blooming size. The flower bud takes about four months to develop and then it blooms for only one or two days. During our visit, the staff were waiting for a bloom to open very soon (fortunately we missed out on the smell, but unfortunately also an interesting and unusual blossom).
If you love exotic flora, there’s a lot to see and enjoy during a stop here.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)