August 16, 2016

Playter Estates Toronto late summer backyard cleanup

Backyard weeding in the North Broadview and Danforth area


Summer is all too quickly coming to an end but the weeding never stops, it seems. Last week's extreme heat and humidity here in Toronto have only made weeds explode in size and numbers!

 I was recently hired to cleanup this small backyard near the Broadview and Danforth Avenue area near downtown Toronto. While these garden beds were not large, they were covered with Silver Lace vines (Polygonum aubertii) and mature Lamb's Quarters (Chenopodium albumweeds. And, yes, a Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo) sapling thrown in as shown in the first picture below!


Playter Estates Toronto backyard cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Playter Estates Toronto backyard cleanup before 


Playter Estates Toronto backyard cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Playter Estates Toronto backyard cleanup after 



Playter Estates Toronto backyard clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Playter Estates Toronto backyard clean up before


Playter Estates Toronto backyard clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Playter Estates Toronto backyard clean up after 


Broadview Danforth Toronto backyard clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Broadview Danforth Toronto backyard clean up before


Broadview Danforth Toronto backyard clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Broadview Danforth Toronto backyard clean up after


Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding before Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding before


Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding after Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding after 


Toronto Playter Estates backyard clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard clean up before


Toronto Playter Estates backyard clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard clean up after 


Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding before 

Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Playter Estates backyard weeding after 

July 28, 2016

Leslieville, Toronto front garden clean up

Where's Waldo? He's big and green with long arms...


I have to give you credit, dear reader, if you've been keeping up with all these "garden cleanup" posts I've been publishing. I admit, they're usually very boring so today I'm going to make yet another garden cleanup post more of a game.

So, let's play the garden maintenance version of "Where's Waldo?" below.

Here are two pictures of the same Leslieville, Toronto front garden which needed, ahem, a little rehab. There are two specimen landscape trees somewhere. 

Can you spot them?



Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup before 



Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup before Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup before 



Was it a challenge? Give up?

For several hours, I removed 4 Chinese Elm saplings (can 10 foot tall young weed trees be considered "saplings"?), 2 White mulberry saplings, a very dead ancient juniper, dozens of very mature Dog Strangling vines, Triffid-like burdock, masses of petty spurge and more weeds I forgot about. 

Here are the two corresponding "after" pictures. 

Yes, it's the same garden.



Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup after 



Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup after Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup 


If you spotted "Waldo",  the Weeping Nootka Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' ) his sidekick, the ubquitous "Bloodgood" Japanese maple in the "before" pictures, you got darn better eyesight than I do! 

Here are more of the same, from different angles. I guess I saved this front garden from being a small woodlot in about ten years.


Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup before




Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville front garden summer cleanup after 




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup before Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup before




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup after Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup after 




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services before
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup  




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services after
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer cleanup 




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer clean up before 




Leslieville Toronto front garden summer clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto front garden summer clean up after 

July 18, 2016

Do the math!

Nah, I'm not expecting it to grow much larger...


Better late than never, I'm starting a new series of posts dealing with "the wrong plant, wrong location" practice I see all too often during my travels across Toronto. Below is a wonderful and particularly egregious example of the triumph of hope over experience:



Baby Point front garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Oh, Christmas tree!


Firstly, just ignore the white rock "mulch" under the Colorado Blue Spruce. Whether you think it looks ghastly and outdated (it is), let's rather focus on the where this youngster of a tree is planted. 

To our left is the only paved access from the front door to the driveway and backyard. The width is about three feet.

In the foreground is a shared driveway about 15 feet wide.

And, yes, there's a huge mature oak about 6 feet behind (you can see its trunk).

Now consider the typical mature size of this spruce: 50-75 feet high by 10-20 feet wide.

Let's spend a few moments doing the math.

.
.
.
.

As your accountant might say when you present her with incomplete receipts in a shoe box, "the math doesn't add up."  Or to borrow that infamous line from the movie "Jaws", "you're gonna need a bigger set of clippers." What, you don't enjoy being caressed by such a spruce on the way to and from the car, carrying groceries into the house, lugging out the hose, etc.?


July 13, 2016

A front garden makeover in York Mills/St. Andrews: Natives? Non-natives? Does it really matter?

Re-thinking a Toronto shade garden



Sometimes a new garden project develops out of the blue. Here's what was growing recently in this Toronto front garden: areas covered by Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) in medium shade.


Lamiastrum galeobdolon Yellow Archangel York Mills front garden renovation Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Lamiastrum galeobdolon (Yellow Archangel) 
York Mills front garden renovation



For anyone familiar with this groundcover, you'll know that it "likes to move quickly" which is a euphemism for being mildly invasive. And I find the leaves stink as well. But if you want quick coverage, Yellow archdevil archangel could work, maybe too successfully.


When I first visited this location in the St. Andrews/York Mills area of Toronto about two months ago, the client was asking for bids to remove large patches of groundcover and replacing that with new sod.

Another landscaper/gardener came by before and offered to rototill the Lamiastrum and put in new Kentucky bluegrass sod.

Now, let that sink in for a minute.

I'll wait.



.

.

.

.

.


Okay, I'm back. The goal was to sod over a lot of the area currently which is, to be nice, over-run by the lamiastrum. Obviously (maybe not to some "professionals") the existing groundcover should be removed. Or was the strategy simply laying down rolls of sod on top of chopped up stems of lamiastrum (wonderfully propagated when you think about it)?


When did rototilling become the new method of weeding? This is not the first time I've come across this reasoning, unfortunately.


Does this make sense to you? It didn't to me and I pointed out to the client the eventual failure of trying to grow sod in soil that was full of weeds (in this case, nicely-sliced up lamiastrum stems) and in, at best, dappled shade.


Instead, perhaps the lamiastrum could be confined to certain areas that were very shaded and dry (in which case, it's actually doing its job as an effective groundcover in "tough-to-grow anything" spots) and removed from a prominent area more visible by the neighbours. Space for an expanded shade garden, then, could be created for the introduction of shade-tolerant perennials and shrubs.


At this point, I was more concerned with not having a rototiller ripping tree roots and destroying the soil structure than "winning" new business. I guess "working with the site" doesn't carry much meaning when you have plenty of gas-powered machines rearing to go and loads of rolls of sod on the truck.


Literally, "landscraping" comes to mind.


I guess my thoughts made sense with the homeowner so she hired me to create a new garden from this:


York Mills St. Andrews front garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
York Mills St. Andrews 
front garden renovation before




York Mills St. Andrews front garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
York Mills St. Andrews 
front garden renovation before 

to eventually this:



Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto York Mills St. Andrews front garden renovation after
Toronto York Mills St. Andrews 
front garden renovation after


Here's the same bed from another angle. I did leave a strip of the Lamiastrum on the left side because I felt it was on the neighbour's property. I would be ideal if all of it was removed but that's between the two homeowners.


After removing the groundcover and many turf seedlings (small clumps of grass), I mixed in many bags of composted cow manure to increase the organic matter in the soil. Sad to say that no worms were found anywhere.



York Mills St. Andrews Toronto front garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
York Mills St. Andrews Toronto 
front garden renovation before 


The question of what type of new plants should be put in, I find, is usually not tricky. Most clients don't know or care and just want me to "make it pretty/tidy/like someone gave a damn." This client, however, had a different vision and preferred mostly native species but open to the idea of "non-natives." That was fortunate because the supply of plants for sale in July is dwindling at the garden centres. Many times, my plant choices are sold out so substitutes are picked instead.


It's a version of the mantra "you get what you get and you don't get upset" I repeated to my children when they were young (I still do repeat it naively) and to more than a few clients (nicer wording though) when we try to buy plants in the dead of summer.
 



York Mills St. Andrews Toronto front garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
York Mills St. Andrews Toronto 
front garden renovation after 


St. Andrews York Mills front garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
St. Andrews York Mills 
front garden renovation before



St. Andrews York Mills front garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
St. Andrews York Mills 
front garden renovation before



St. Andrews York Mills front garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
St. Andrews York Mills 
front garden renovation after 


St. Andrews York Mills Toronto front garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
St. Andrews York Mills Toronto 
front garden renovation before



York Mills St. Andrews Toronto front garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
York Mills St. Andrews Toronto 
front garden renovation after 


Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto York Mills St. Andrews front garden renovation after
Toronto York Mills St. Andrews 
front garden renovation after



Are you wondering what perennials and shrubs were planted in this Toronto shade garden? Here are some plants on the eclectic list:






July 05, 2016

A Mount Pleasant West garden renovation

Less lawn, more garden? That's alright with me!



While all my work projects are small-scale since I work alone, they vary constantly depending on the client's needs and, ahem, budget. Sometimes it involves moving or adding plants to an existing garden or it could mean enlarging the size of a garden. This small but labour-intensive job shown in this post is an example of resizing a garden by removing turf. It's definitely not an xeriscape project (adding new hydrangeas is anything but xeriscaping) but a small patch of lawn was removed to allow for a larger garden bed

Here's the area of work below.  The client asked me to remove all the lawn to a certain point (I'd estimate it was about 120 square feet), enlarging the existing garden bed, plant four new "Limelight" hydrangea standards and some English Ivy for ground cover.

Sounds simple, right? Sure, simple in design but not in execution as anyone who has removed turf by hand intimately knows. (Using a backhoe to scrape off the lawn doesn't count. I guess we call that "landscraping?")


Mount Pleasant West front garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West front garden renovation before 


Removing the sod was slow and physically-demanding for an old geezer like myself. Even with a brand new spade, cutting into the turf and lifting it out felt like....work! You can see how brown the lawn is (it's been very dry this summer so far) but the rolls of turf I cut out still weighed a ton (it seemed).

But I carried on and here's an "after" picture showing the enlarged bed.

I moved the row of yellow daylilies to the front (per the client's request) and transplanted four new "Limelight" Pee Gee hydrangea ( Hydrangea paniculata "Limelight" ) standards in a grid. She also wanted English Ivy to fill in as a ground cover so we planted a dozen plugs or so.




Mount Pleasant West front garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West front garden renovation after 




Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn before



Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn after



Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn before 




Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn after Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Mount Pleasant West garden renovation removing lawn after 




Mount Pleasant West Toronto garden renovation removing lawn before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Mount Pleasant West Toronto garden renovation removing lawn before 



Mount Pleasant West Toronto garden renovation removing lawn after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Mount Pleasant West Toronto garden renovation removing lawn after 


It's a formal look with the green colour scheme which fits in with the neighbourhood's front yard aesthetics.

A neighbour walked over while I was working and asked what the plan was. After I explained the concept, she gave her approval.

The client and I are relieved!

July 03, 2016

A summer garden cleanup in Leslieville

Weeding in Toronto's Leslieville neighbourhood


It's summertime, the living is easy but the work is still busy as weeds of all kinds love the heat and rain. I recently completed this back and front yard garden clean up for a typical-sized Leslieville property in Toronto's east end. (Sorry, pictures are over-exposed but I think you get the idea.)

Yes, it's a little weedy in the back!


Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding 
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto



Leslieville garden cleanup after weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding 
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville Toronto garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto garden cleanup before weeding 
by Paul Jung Gardening Services



Leslieville Toronto garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto garden cleanup after weeding 
by Paul Jung Gardening Services



Toronto Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding 
by Paul Jung Gardening Services


Toronto Leslieville garden cleanup after weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville garden cleanup after weeding
 by Paul Jung Gardening Services

Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville garden cleanup before weeding
 by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville garden cleanup after weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville garden cleanup after weeding
 by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

And here are some "before" and "after"  pictures from the front:


Leslieville front garden cleanup before weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup before weeding
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville front garden cleanup after weeding by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup after weeding
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville front garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup before
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville front garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup after
by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville front garden cleanup before weeding Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup before weeding
Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto


Leslieville front garden cleanup after weeding Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville front garden cleanup after weeding
Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto

Stay cool and try to weed in the shade during the rest of summer 2016!


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