March 29, 2016

"Garden Muses" turns 5!

Happy birthday to my blog!


Garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog fifth anniversary picture of Japanese cheesecake slice.jpg
Yummy Japanese cheesecake!

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since I started this blog. For all my readers, old and new, I want to thank you again for spending your time and attention reading my "muses" about life in and out of the garden since 2011. I'm relatively late to the game, as far as garden blogging goes, but better late than never. Readers who've been with me for a few years know what not to expect: posts on urban farming, vegetable growing, permaculture, sowing tomato seeds, etc.I just find such topics too utilitarian. I'll show pictures of pretty flowers all day instead.

I will also continue to post about the various garden cleanup jobs and new garden installations I've completed through my company. If you're not interested (and I can't blame you; who wants to see weeds?), then just ignore these discussions. I post "before" and "after" pictures and commentary because a) these help potential clients find me via online search and b) there may be some useful design or maintenance "nuggets of wisdom" for you to take home. I try to entertain at the very least.

If you're familiar with my "birthday posts," you may remember that I usually show a piece of pastry with a candle on top to celebrate things. This year's "birthday cake" slice is actually not cake but a piece of Japanese cheesecake. I'd describe the texture and flavour as fluffy and "cake-y" cheesecake, not as sweet, dense or "cheesey" as New York cheesecake. I had to wait five years for a slice but it was worth it!

March 26, 2016

Playing in the dirt at the Sunnybrook Estates greenhouse

The Sunnybrook (Hospital) Volunteer Association's GreenThumbs:  Growing and selling plants for a good cause



Volunteering in this greenhouse over a Toronto winter seems ideal in several ways. You get to play around in the dirt (usually a soil-less mix) with bulbs, seeds, cuttings, etc. when it's frigid outside and contribute to a good cause through the sale of your work. And by April, perhaps, you're ready to play outside.


I dropped by the greenhouse for the first time several weeks ago on an unusually warm March morning. One of the GreenThumbs' volunteers, Carole Barry, discovered me on Facebook from my previous posts about the various Flower Shows at another (public) greenhouse or, more properly, Conservatory at Allan Gardens. ("GreenThumbs" is the name of the volunteer group specifically working in the greenhouse and is part of the larger Sunnybrook Hospital volunteer association.) She mentioned that I should visit the Sunnybrook greenhouse, check out its operations and get the story out.


It's an interesting story indeed!


Sunnybrook Volunteer Association greenhouse hanging baskets by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Sunnybrook Volunteer Association 
greenhouse hanging baskets 

March 17, 2016

Allan Gardens Conservatory Spring Flower Show 2016: part 2


Spring in Toronto is in the air!


Inside anyway within the cozy confines of the Conservatory. Outside, it's a mess of discarded cigarette butts and dog excrement and one has to dodge many landmines walking the city streets once the snowbanks have melted. As an antidote to such ugliness, I'll show you pictures of a few more spring flowers down at the local Conservatory. In many "real" gardens throughout the city, snowdrops, crocuses, winter aconites and other early spring ephemerals have been blooming earlier than usual. (March so far has been on the warm side.)  Tulips, daffodils are also poking their heads intrepidly through the soil, knowing full well that another snowfall is more than likely. But let's ignore such trivialities and enjoy these spring (and other) flowers.



White and yellow trumpet daffodils at Allan Gardens Conservatory 2016 Spring Flower Show by Paul Jung Gardening Services
White and yellow trumpet daffodils
at the Allan Gardens Conservatory
2016 Spring Flower Show 



March 08, 2016

Danforth Village, Toronto front garden spring clean up

Monarch Park, Toronto front garden spring clean up


April 2016 is around the corner and the weather is finally warming up. I'm anticipating getting business calls and e-mails soon requesting a "spring cleanup," which is not to be confused with a "fall cleanup."  It's really the same type of work (just separated by 5 months or so) consisting of removing old perennial leaves and stalks, pruning out woody stems that died over the winter, and raking out last fall's leaves.

The clean up below, completed last spring, is very typical for what I do in early spring for clients. For this east end Toronto front garden,  I removed old hosta and daylily stalks and leaves, trimmed the lavenders and cut out any dead material. Some clients prefer to have old tree leaves remain as a mulch  (which will break down by the summer) while other customers want them removed for a more "polished" look.

This client also asked me to divide and transplant several perennials so that a more layered look was achieved. (There were a few shorter perennials in this bed tucked away in the back. I simply moved them to the front and middle spaces as they were hidden by the taller daylilies and irises.)

Early spring is an ideal time to move and divide most perennials since they are just coming out of dormancy and air temperatures are still low enough to reduce stress on the newly transplanted perennials and shrubs.

Let's have a fantastic 2016 spring everyone!



Monarch Park  garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park front garden clean up before



Monarch Park garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park front garden clean up after 


Monarch Park spring garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park spring garden cleanup before


Monarch Park  spring garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park  spring garden cleanup after 



Monarch Park spring garden clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park spring garden clean up before 



Monarch Park spring garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park spring garden cleanup after 



Monarch Park  garden cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park front garden cleanup before


Monarch Park  garden cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Monarch Park front garden cleanup after




March 04, 2016

Allan Gardens Conservatory Spring Flower Show 2016: part 1


Spring arrives early in Toronto!


Kind of. Sort of. To me, things don't really start to happen outside until late April after the snow and ice melt away and the soil becomes workable. We've received a good foot of snow since the beginning of March so there's no feeling that spring is anywhere close. It's a bit of a desperate time for Toronto gardeners right about now. Many feverishly look over their seed and bulb catalogues while others have sown their veggie crops in trying to get a head start. I don't bother with grow lights, soil mixes or damp off and prefer to see nice flowers in full bloom right now. The nearby Allan Gardens Conservatory is heaven s(c)ent in that regard.



2016 Allan Gardens Conservatory Spring Flower Show Pink Charm daffodil by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
2016 Allan Gardens Conservatory 
Spring Flower Show 
"Pink Charm" daffodil