May 28, 2017

Mid Toronto new front garden installation

Another Toronto Front Garden Makeover



Once in a while I'm asked to revamp/makeover/redo a Toronto garden that is located on a rental property. The landlord/s usually want to invest as little as possible (upfront and future maintenance dollars) in order to maximize their return on investment. If I can get them (the homeowner) away from the "low maintenance" conventional wisdom of laying down sheets of black landscape fabric and then dumping a tonne of pea gravel or river rock (which over time, by the way, does not work in keeping weeds from popping up, through or on top of the gravel), we may ideally consider transplanting a mixture of perennials, shrubs and trees to make the site look better than an enlarged municipal drainage swale.


April 30, 2017

Spring blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Crocus, tulips, daffodils and more blooming at the TBG


Spring has sprung in Toronto (although as I'm writing this, the weather is cold, wet and miserable) and many flowering shrubs and bulbs are blooming magnificently. I had an opportunity to visit the Toronto Botanical Garden several weeks ago to see what was in bloom and while most of the tulips (at the time) had not emerged yet, there were plenty other spring stars on display.

(I took many pictures of hellebores at the TBG so if you missed a previous post showcasing them, go to this post titled "Hella Good Looking Hellebores!")


I hope you're enjoying your spring (or fall)!



Chionodoxa Glory of the Snow at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 




Cornus mas Cornelian Cherry spring flowers at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry) spring flowers 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


April 25, 2017

Summerhill Toronto Spring Garden Clean Up

And the Spring Cleanups Just Keep Coming...


Toronto's weather in April  has been fantastic compared to last year with many warm and sunny days so far.  The yellow blaze of Forsythia is seen over the city and is a welcome sight after many dreary winter months. Even the magnolias and flowering cherries are currently blooming and this normally occurs in May. 

Below are some photos from a recent cleanup for a client in the Summerhill neighbourhood of Toronto showing some "before" and "after" pictures. All the leaves and stems are from last autumn so I filled about 8 "yard waste" bags (which are collected and composted by the city.)



Summerhill Toronto spring backyard garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring backyard
 garden cleanup before 



Summerhill Toronto spring backyard garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring backyard
garden cleanup after 



Summerhill Toronto spring backyard garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring backyard
garden clean up before 




Summerhill Toronto spring backyard garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring backyard
garden clean up after 


Toronto Summerhill spring backyard garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Summerhill spring backyard
garden clean up before 




Toronto Summerhill spring backyard garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Summerhill spring backyard
garden clean up after 




Summerhill Toronto spring front yard garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring front yard
garden clean up before 




Summerhill Toronto spring front yard garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring front yard
garden clean up after 


Summerhill Toronto spring front yard garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring front yard
garden cleanup before 



Summerhill Toronto spring front yard garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Summerhill Toronto spring front yard
garden cleanup after 



Toronto Summerhill spring front yard garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Summerhill spring front yard
garden clean up before 




Toronto Summerhill spring front yard garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Summerhill spring front yard
garden clean up after 




If you made it this far past these boring shots, here's your reward:

 A beautiful double flowering hellebore was in fine form in this garden. My best guess for the cultivar name is "Harvington Double White" which has brilliant white flowers (sepals?) shining brightly against glossy fresh green leaves. Very classy!





Harvington Double White hellebore Helleborus x hybridus by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Harvington Double White" hellebore 
(Helleborus x hybridus)




Helleborus x hybridus Harvington Double White hellebore  by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Helleborus x hybridus 
"Harvington Double White" hellebore 




April 21, 2017

Hella Good Looking Hellebores!

Plant It and Forget It: Hellebore Hybrids


Chalk it up to Toronto gardeners having an early case of spring fever as I'm seeing Hellebores popping up in more and more gardens. These Christmas Roses (Helleborus niger) and Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis and the many hybrids under H. x hybridus) give us late winter or early spring blooms and look fantastic around daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and early season tulips. They also don't expect much fussing about from their caregivers either: plant them in soil with rich organic matter, provide average moisture and allow for full to part sun. In many ways, hellebores are like peonies: just plant them, leave them alone and they should be long lasting. In terms of ongoing maintenance, I spend a couple minutes a year cutting off the previous year's old and often diseased leaves in early spring. That's it.

(A great reference for the hellebore care and propagation is Hellebores: Winter Hardy Shade Perennials for the Woodland Garden from Plant Delights Nursery.)




Hellebores and crocuses at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hellebores and crocuses at 
the Toronto Botanical Garden 


April 19, 2017

Leaside Spring Garden Cleanup

Sharing the Hellebore love in Leaside


The requests for spring garden cleanups are coming in fast and furious with April's good weather. 

Here's another small project for a new client in the Leaside area of Toronto with the typical tasks of raking out the garden beds, pruning some of the shrubs, and the highlight: transplanting three fresh and full containers of "Ivory Prince" hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus 'Walhelivor').


Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Clean up before 



Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Clean up after 


Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup before



Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leaside Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup after 


The garden center selling these hellebores know how weak and vulnerable many Toronto gardeners are right now. While these perennials can be considered expensive at about $40 for a one gallon pot, there's no denying hellebores (and Helleborus in general) are beautiful and tough as nails too. Combine them with daffodils and crocuses for a winning spring composition!



Ivory Prince Hellebore spring blooms by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Ivory Prince" Hellebore spring blooms 



Ivory Prince Hellebore spring flowers by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Ivory Prince" Hellebore spring flowers 




April 11, 2017

Riverdale Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup

Cleaning Up Your Garden in the Fall Isn't Necessary


There's one garden I look after in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood that never experiences the glory of what's known in the landscaping business as a "fall cleanup." Typically, every October or November, a garden is "put to bed" or "closed for the winter" (amusing metaphors!) by having all dead or dying perennial stems, stalks and flowers removed or leaves raked (more likely blown) out. For most gardens, this isn't necessary. The seedheads and stalks can feed overwintering birds and provide homes for beneficial insects while a layer of leaves acts as mulch and protects your perennials somewhat from heaving due to freeze and thaw (especially if a thick blanket of snow is absent.) Lastly, the dead stems can also provide some "winter interest" by catching a bit of the snow and wind (when you experience four solid months of winter like I do, you'll take it!)

I've profiled this "ecological garden" in the past in a post titled "A Tale of Two Toronto Gardens--An Ecological and Formal Garden: And Never the Twain Shall Meet?"  which has only native (to southern Ontario) species and no cultivars. It's actually a "lower-maintenance" garden to look after as the perennials and shrubs are pest and disease free (except the American Plum (Prunus americana)  which always gets scale and needs some horticultural oil sprayed on at this time of the year.)

Coming out of winter, however, all of last year's stalks and flowers need to be cut down in preparation for another season full of colour and pollinator activity.



Riverdale Toronto spring garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale Toronto spring garden clean up before


Riverdale Toronto spring garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale Toronto spring garden clean up after 


Riverdale Toronto spring garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale Toronto spring garden cleanup before


Riverdale Toronto spring garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale Toronto spring garden cleanup after 


Toronto Riverdale spring garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Riverdale spring garden clean up 

Toronto Riverdale spring garden clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Riverdale spring garden clean up after 


Toronto Riverdale spring garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Riverdale spring garden cleanup before 


Toronto Riverdale spring garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Riverdale spring garden cleanup after 


April 07, 2017

Parkdale Spring Garden Cleanup

A Spring Garden Clean Up in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale


After another quiet winter hibernating, this bear is ready to work again, motivated by the warm weather and, truth be told, the need to replenish cash. Four solid months of winter are increasingly harder to tolerate for a Toronto gardener like myself. Geez, other bloggers have been posting pictures of spring blooms for months now while we're only finally seeing the colourful blooms of hellebores, snowdrops and crocus. But enough whining...

This April has been milder compared to previous years so I've received more calls for "spring (garden) cleanups" than usual from old and new clients.

(As an aside, I don't like the terms "spring/ (or fall) cleanup" as it suggests a garden has to be sterile and polished like, for example, your bathroom. But that's the vernacular so I'm not going to quibble with a client over this usage.)

The weather was pleasant the other day so I scheduled a visit to tidy up the front and back gardens belonging to this client living in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale.



Parkdale front garden spring cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Parkdale front garden spring cleanup before 


Nothing too elaborate involved here: primarily raking up last season's decomposing leaves and stems, pruning a few dead branches and removing the old (very dead) annuals from the three containers.

Typical of city gardens, there was quite a bit of garbage mixed in with the leaves. The juniper seemed to attract and collect most of the debris and working around it is always a delight (sarcasm inserted.)




Parkdale front garden spring cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Parkdale front garden spring cleanup after



Parkdale Toronto front garden spring cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Parkdale Toronto front garden spring cleanup



Parkdale Toronto front garden spring cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Parkdale Toronto front garden spring cleanup


Parkdale Toronto front garden spring clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Parkdale Toronto front garden spring clean up 



Parkdale Toronto front garden spring clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Parkdale Toronto front garden spring clean up after



Toronto Parkdale front garden spring cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Parkdale front garden spring cleanup
(Sorry for the glowing orb at the bottom.
I'm not sure why it's there!) 



Toronto Parkdale front garden spring cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Parkdale front garden spring cleanup 


Toronto Parkdale front garden spring clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Parkdale front garden spring clean up




Toronto Parkdale front garden spring clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Parkdale front garden spring clean up 



Here's to Spring 2017, Toronto version,  another work season for me and more dirty fingers for you!

April 01, 2017

Succulents and cacti at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory

Prickly and Juicy Characters



Succulents seem to be all the rage these days and I can understand why. They're "low maintenance" (well, not hardy for us in zone 5 Toronto but not slaves to watering either) and, admittedly, very cute. I was reminded of this during my visit to the 2017 Centennial Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show (outlined in my previous post.) The Conservatory has a separate area or "Arid House" with many succulents and cacti on permanent display. Many of these "desert" plants have interesting flowers and fantastic foliage in their own right.

So while the seasonal flower exhibits are showing spring bulbs or fall mums blooming their (forced) heads off, our little friends who prefer the dry heat just keep doing their thing.

Maybe I'll pick up an Echeveria this year and see if survives my lack of love!


Kalanchoe thyrsiflora Paddle Plant at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant) at 
Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House 


Echeverias at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Echeverias at Etobicoke's
 Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House 



Echeveria detail at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Echeveria detail at
Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House 



Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House blooms by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's
Kalanchoe Arid House blooms 



Euphorbia milii Crown of Thorns flowers at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns) flowers
at Etobicoke's Centennial Park
Conservatory's Arid House 



Aeonium at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Aeonium at Etobicoke's Centennial Park
Conservatory's Arid House 



Aloe flowers at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Aloe flowers at Etobicoke's Centennial Park
Conservatory's Arid House




Blue Sticks and Aloe glauca at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Blue Sticks (foreground) and Aloe glauca
at Etobicoke's Centennial Park
Conservatory's Arid House 




Cacti at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory  by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Cacti and Kalanchoe blooms at
Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory  




Kalanchoes at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory  by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Kalanchoes at Etobicoke's Centennial
Park Conservatory's Arid House 



Paddle Plant Kalanchoe thyrsiflora at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory's Arid House by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora) at
 Etobicoke's Centennial Park
Conservatory's Arid House 



Senecio Mandraliscae Blue Finger Succulent and Kalanchoes at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory  by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Senecio mandraliscae (Blue Finger Succulent)
 and Kalanchoes at Etobicoke's
Centennial Park Conservatory 



Succulent topiary at Etobicoke's Centennial Park Conservatory Arid Room by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Succulent "topiary" at 
Etobicoke's Centennial Park 
Conservatory's Arid Room