September 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Toronto Gardens

An Ecological and Formal Garden: And Never the Twain Shall Meet?


First, let me apologize for the lack of posts lately, dear reader. I've been (still) very busy at work, weeding and pruning here and there for my clients across Toronto. Most of the tasks are mundane but some of the settings are not. By coincidence, I tended two gardens back to back and wanted to share the stark differences I discovered between the two.

The first one is completely ecological in philosophy and practice. The owner has chosen only native perennial and shrubs in the design (aside from two veggie beds) and will not use pesticides at all. These are non-negotiable!

Some highlights showing the biodiversity and visual interest on a sunny late summer's day:

Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) in a rain garden


Common milkweed Ascelepias syriaca ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Common milkweed (Ascelepias syriaca) with plump follicles

Giant coneflower Rudbeckia maxima ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima)

Ironweed Vernonia gigantea blooms ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) blooms with a hungry visitor

Spotted jewelweed Impatiens capensis ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Swamp Rose Mallow Hibiscus moscheutos bloom ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
in full bloom in the rain garden

Raised ecological garden beds by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Two raised gardens with a rather large Tuscan kale 
(Brassica oleracae) making its presence known! 

American elderberry Sambucus canadensis ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) fruit

Plum cherry tomatoes detail ecological gardening by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Sun and vine ripened tomatoes. Yummy!

Nothing earth-shattering. I just like the colour contrast and texture
of the underside of this swiss chard leaf.



The next day I visited this garden in a "tonier" section of town to do some hedge clipping.



Formal spiraea euonymus hedge White Chiffon rose of sharon standards by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Formal spiraea and euonymus hedge with White Chiffon rose of sharon standards


I guess either you love or hate this geometric and modern look.  Not much visually going on. Actually, not much of anything going on. No pollinators, no birds, just the persistent background noise and whine of lawn mowers, trimmers and blowers during the entire job coming from surrounding equally sterile landscapes. Which I find ironic: one pays big dollars to live in "nicer" sections with manicured gardens only to hear gas-powered equipment throughout the day.

Which of the two gardens appeal to you and why?

I think you know my answer, if you go by the number of photos!










By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog"
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