October 18, 2017

Giving Thanks over Thanksgiving at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Autumn foliage and flowers at the TBG



I was stuck in town over the Thanksgiving (Canadian) weekend so I ambled over to the Toronto Botanical Garden to see the latest displays of fall flowers and foliage. It's a great time to visit as I'm not fighting with spring crowds or enduring summer's heat and humidity. Sure, you won't see the masses of tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs or the gaudy summer over-the-top peony blooms in October (which are all beautiful nevertheless). The feeling now is more subdued, as if the gardens here and all over town are telling us that "hey, we're feeling a little tired now but we'll put on one last great display of colour before we sleep over winter." 

I'm very thankful that the TBG exists for all of Toronto and elsewhere to enjoy. There's no admission cost, it's accessible by public transit (although a trek from downtown where I live), has ample parking, and offers many programs and lectures.

I occasionally pop by for an hour or so, take several dozen pictures, have a coffee, read a bit and leave with my "flower and foliage fix" satisfied.

Here are some highlights from my visit two weeks ago for you enjoy. Autumn in Toronto is quite lovely, if you can ignore the incessant whine of leaf blowers inflicted by those mow-blow- and go landscapers all over the city right now!




Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden Amsonia hubrichtii fall colour by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical 
Garden showing Amsonia hubrichtii's 
fall colour in the background




Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden autumn foliage peony Hakone grass by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden 
autumn herbaceous peony and Hakone grass foliage



Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden autumn Switch Grass Panicum by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden 
autumn Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)



Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden autumn ‘Strictum’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum) by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden 
autumn ‘Strictum’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum)



Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden Verbena bonariensis and Joe Pye Weed by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical 
Garden Verbena bonariensis and Joe Pye Weed



Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden Verbena bonariensis by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical 
Garden Verbena bonariensis blooms



Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical Garden ‘Firedance’ mountain fleece and Hosta sieboldiana ‘Blue Angel’ by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Entry Garden Walk at the Toronto Botanical 
Garden ‘Firedance’ mountain fleece and 
Hosta sieboldiana ‘Blue Angel’ 




Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail' Mountain Fleece at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail' Mountain Fleece 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 




Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai' Toad Lily at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai' Toad Lily 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 



Hellebore, epimedium and 'Coonara Pygmy Japanese maple at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hellebore, epimedium and 'Coonara Pygmy' 
Japanese maple at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Witch Alder) at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Witch Alder) 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Indigofera kirilowii Indigo at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Indigofera kirilowii Indigo 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


 Golden Full Moon Maple (Acer shirasawanum aureum at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
 Golden Full Moon Maple 
(Acer shirasawanum "Aureum") 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Acer palmatum 'Coonara Pygmy' Japanese maple at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Acer palmatum 'Coonara Pygmy' 
Japanese maple at the Toronto Botanical Garden



Amur Cork Tree (Phellodendron amurense) bark at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Amur Cork Tree (Phellodendron amurense) bark 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 




Acer palmatum 'Waterfall' Japanese maple at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Acer palmatum 'Waterfall' Japanese maple 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Aconitum ‘Ivorine’ Monkshood at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Aconitum ‘Ivorine’ Monkshood 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden




Autumn cutleaf Japanese maple and Hakone Japanese Forest Grass at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Autumn cutleaf Japanese maple and 
Hakone Japanese Forest Grass 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Beautyberry Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst') 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 




Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' Beautyberry at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' (Beautyberry) 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Green Hornet Cutleaf Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Green Hornet') at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Green Hornet" Cutleaf Japanese Maple 
(Acer palmatum 'Green Hornet') 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Hamamelis mollis Chinese witchhazel fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis mollis Chinese witch hazel 
fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Japanese Barberry and Sawara False Cypress detail at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Japanese Barberry and Sawara False Cypress 
detail at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Montauk daisy Nipponanthemum nipponicum at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Hamamelis virginiana common witch hazel autumn foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana (common witch hazel) 
autumn foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Hamamelis virginiana common witch hazel bloom and seed capsule at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana (common witch hazel) bloom and seed capsule at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Hamamelis virginiana common witch hazel blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Hamamelis virginiana (common witch hazel) 
blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Acanthus hungaricus Bear's Breeches at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Acanthus hungaricus (Bear's Breeches) 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Amsonia hubrichtii Bluestar at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Amsonia hubrichtii (Bluestar) 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Amsonia hubrichtii Bluestar fall foliage at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Amsonia hubrichtii (Bluestar) fall foliage 
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 




Autumn border at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Autumn border at the Toronto Botanical Garden 

October 16, 2017

A Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup

A New Toronto Perennial Garden Matures


I don't think
I've profiled the same garden on this blog three times in the same season so this gives me a chance to show you how a garden I designed and planted this past spring has progressed into the fall.


(Here are the two earlier blog posts titled "A Mid Toronto new front garden installation" and "Maintenance is Gardening" going over the design, transplanting and weeding processes for this midtown Toronto front garden.)

But first, I had to deal with weeding the garden one last time before winter descends upon us here in Toronto.



Midtown Toronto Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Midtown Toronto Fall Cleanup before 

I'm very happy to see how the new perennials have grown during their first year in situ. The garden is in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day) and receives all the rainfall nature provides. Still, an automatic irrigation system helped greatly during prolonged periods of heat and drought. The weeds take full advantage of such conditions, naturally!


Midtown Toronto Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Midtown Toronto Fall Cleanup after 

The purple coneflowers and maiden grass (Miscanthus) to their right have established well with regular watering during the first season.



Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before 

This raised bed is isolated so all weeds present are wind-borne. It's always interesting to me to see which weeds are found in the different gardens in which I work (dependent on the amount of shade, soil types, moisture levels, etc.) and it's no different here. With the absence of surrounding trees (especially maples), I didn't have to deal with yanking out hundreds of seedlings but other weeds dominated the spaces between the perennials like petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus) and narrow leaved plantain (Plantago lanceolata).



Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after


Toronto Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Clean up before




Toronto Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Clean up after 

I pruned the five butterfly weed plants on the right side of the picture above to the ground (hence, the empty space) since the stems were covered with aphids but the other perennials planted in May survived the summer, seem to have doubled in size and will provide excellent winter interest over the next five months (!). I'm especially happy with the growth of the little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) located in the lower right and the fountain grasses ( Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’) seen in the upper right of the picture but I knew they would thrive in full sun without a worry.


Toronto Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before 



Toronto Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after 

Paul Jung Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before
 Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup before



Paul Jung Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after
 Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup after



Below are three pictures showing the garden from my initial visit this past May to October's latest cleanup (after weeding, of course!) This will give you an idea how quickly some perennials will grow under ideal conditions and that one should consider their mature size during the design stage.



Midtown Toronto gardening services new low maintenance perennial garden before by Paul Jung
May 2017 before a design was created



Midtown Toronto gardening services new low maintenance perennial garden after by Paul Jung
Immediately after transplanting in May 2017

Avenue Road Front Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Toronto Gardening Services
July 2017



Toronto Gardening Services Midtown Toronto Fall Garden Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
October 2017


They are not visible but there are two pipes running into the garden which are connected to the house gutters (we call them "eavestroughs" locally) so in a way this garden is a rain garden of sorts. I don't think any supplemental watering is necessary in the future since the plant root balls are on their way to becoming established.

This feature fulfills the homeowner's request for a low maintenance, functional (attractive to pollinators and birds)  and visually interesting front garden. For a rental property, this is not the norm I find and I'm glad the client agreed with my suggestions as these perennials will only get larger and striking with time.




October 12, 2017

A Palmerston-Little Italy Front and Back Garden Cleanup

An autumn weeding project in downtown Toronto


It's mid-October and finally the feeling of autumn is here in Toronto. We've had above normal temperatures so far this month but it looks like more seasonal weather is here to stay. For the next month and a half, I'll likely be very busy again with fall cleanups, i.e., raking leaves, cutting down perennials and tidying up gardens. But this latest post covers my most recent project of pure weed removal!

The client rents out the house (located in Toronto's central neighbourhood called Palmerston-Little Italy) so the tenants naturally ignore the gardens' maintenance. I find in these scenarios, there comes a point often where the homeowner/s feel the need to do something with their neglected property in order to prevent complaints and attract new tenants; hence, I get hired!

The project was broken into two stages: the small front yard and bigger backyard:



Palmerston Little Italy Front Yard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Palmerston Little Italy Front Yard Garden Cleanup before 

Above is the front area of the garden adjacent to the sidewalk. The bed is mulched, thankfully, but is quickly being overwhelmed by the Creeping Charlie weed ( Glechoma hederacea aka ground ivy) invading from the right neighbour's garden which is not maintained at all. I also had to prune back the several scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) shrubs away from the path leading to the house. The orange-red berries are on full display now but the shrubs are a real pain, literally, to work around due to their ferocious spines (thorns). 



Palmerston Little Italy Back Yard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Palmerston Little Italy Back Yard Garden Cleanup before

The second part of the weeding work involves the backyard beds as shown above and below. I'm certain no weeding occurred this year so, not surprisingly, the beds were choked with foxtail weed, goldenrod, more ground ivy and 3 weed tree saplings. The patio pavers also needed to be weeded and swept and the wisteria trimmed.



Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup before 



Little Italy Palmerston Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Little Italy Palmerston Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup before



Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Clean up before 



Little Italy Palmerston  Toronto Back Yard Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Little Italy Palmerston  Toronto Back Yard Cleanup before 



And afterwards...



Palmerston Little Italy Front Yard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Palmerston Little Italy Front Yard Garden Cleanup after 

Not much of a retaining wall as shown above, just a strip of plastic edging. The mulch does help reduce the amount of weeds germinating but offers no protection from the ground ivy which has taken over the right neighbour's front area.


Palmerston Little Italy Back Yard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Palmerston Little Italy Back Yard Garden Cleanup after 

I suggested to the client to at least put down a few bags of mulch to reduce the weeds, even if she doesn't want to add new plants. Otherwise, we'll be revisiting the same situation a year from now.


Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup after 



Little Italy Palmerston Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Little Italy Palmerston Toronto Back Yard Garden Cleanup after 

Removing the root balls of the several large maple and tree of heaven saplings in the narrow area above was quite a task!


Little Italy Palmerston  Toronto Back Yard Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Little Italy Palmerston  Toronto Back Yard Cleanup after


Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Palmerston Little Italy Toronto Back Yard Garden Clean up after

And finally here's the picture of the weeded paver area leading to the back laneway parking space. I dare not show you this area. That would require a separate session to deal with the monstrous weeds growing back there!