September 29, 2017

A Fall Visit to the Toronto Botanical Garden

Autumn splendor at the TBG: an early look



An early look but a late post! I took these pictures at the beginning of the month and haven't had a chance until today to put them in one place. So without further ado....



Toronto Botanical Garden Purple Coneflowers Echinacea purpurea by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toronto Botanical Garden
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea


Echinaceas and Rose of Sharon fall blooms at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Echinacea and Rose of Sharon fall blooms
 at the Toronto Botanical Garden 

Fall is my favourite time to visit gardens (actually, to work in them too) with lower temperature and humidity levels. Crowds are usually thinner as well so that makes my photo taking easier! I had a free day earlier this month so off to the Toronto Botanical Garden I went. I'll likely visit the TBG again later in the autumn to especially enjoy the foliage displays of the Japanese maples. But for now, please enjoy these pictures of early autumn (well, technically late summer) in Toronto.




Rosa 'Meidomonac' BONICA at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Rosa 'Meidomonac' BONICA
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Unidentified Summer Phlox ( Phlox paniculata) fall bloom at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Unidentified Summer Phlox
( Phlox paniculata ) fall bloom
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica) at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Blue River II Hardy Hibiscus bloom at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Blue River II" Hardy Hibiscus bloom
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Summer Sorbet' fall blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Summer Sorbet' fall blooms
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Euonymus phellomanus corktree spindle tree berries at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Euonymus phellomanus (corktree or spindle tree)
 berries at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Goldenrod and rudbeckia fall blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Goldenrod and rudbeckia fall blooms
at the Toronto Botanical Garden



Chinese chives (Allium tuberosum) blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Chinese chives ( Allium tuberosum ) blooms
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Purple coneflower ( Echinacea purpurea) fall blooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) fall blooms
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Fall container at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Fall container at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Perennial border in the fall at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Perennial border in the fall
at the Toronto Botanical Garden


I absolutely love this perennial border in the fall, not only because it shows my favourite colour combination of yellow and purple. Notice how there's wonderful layering going on with the herbaceous peonies, Joe Pye Weed, goldenrod, barberry and (I think) Heliopsis way in the back of the bed.

I'd take this over a row of "Emerald" white cedars eight days a week...

River birch (Betula nigra) bark at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
River birch ( Betula nigra ) bark
 at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
Quite "appeeling"! (Sorry.)



"Kopper King" Hardy Hibiscus bloom
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 



Beryl Ivey Knot Garden at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Beryl Ivey Knot Garden
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Toronto Botanical Garden autumn perennial border by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Toronto Botanical Garden
autumn perennial border



Immortality Bearded Iris at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
"Immortality" Bearded Iris
at the Toronto Botanical Garden 


Tropical Hibiscus 'Sunny Wind' at the Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Tropical Hibiscus 'Sunny Wind'
at the Toronto Botanical Garden

Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima' Grape Leaf Japanese Anemone at Toronto Botanical Garden by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Anemone tomentosa 'Robustissima'
(Grape Leaf Japanese Anemone)
at the Toronto Botanical Garden









September 22, 2017

A Riverdale Toronto Fall Cleanup

"The backyard has to be tidied up before we can sell this house!"

There was a sense of urgency in Jason's (the homeowner) e-mail when he asked if I could weed his backyard garden in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood before listing it for sale. Lucky for him, I did have spot available so I spent a few hours weeding and edging the small garden beds for him.

There was nothing elaborate about the weeding and edging. While Jason could add more mulch to create a more polished look, at least I took care of the weeds for him. I can sense the relief he felt after the job was done. While the real estate market in Toronto has softened since April, my work likely added to the final selling price. I mean, no potential buyer wants to see a yard full of weeds!




Riverdale backyard fall clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Riverdale backyard fall clean up before 



Riverdale backyard Toronto fall clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale backyard Toronto fall clean up before



Riverdale backyard fall cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Riverdale backyard fall cleanup before



Riverdale backyard Toronto fall cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale backyard Toronto fall cleanup before 



Riverdale backyard fall clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Riverdale backyard fall clean up after 




Riverdale backyard Toronto fall clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale backyard Toronto fall clean up after




Riverdale backyard fall cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Riverdale backyard fall cleanup after 




Riverdale backyard Toronto fall cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Riverdale backyard Toronto fall cleanup after 



September 16, 2017

Establishing Proportion in a Toronto Shade Garden

Or: "Yes, these junipers will get big!"


A common error many new gardeners make when planting new perennials, shrubs and trees is not to consider their mature size looking out five, ten, or more years into the future. While moving most perennials isn't too onerous a task (exceptions would include large ornamental grasses and plants with deep taproots), it can be a real pain dealing with shrubs and trees which were planted, frankly, in the wrong spot.

Which brings us to this post....



Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover before  Paul Jung Gardening Services
Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover before  

My client Shirin renovated her backyard about five years ago and one of the garden beds is shown above. It's approximately 4 feet wide by 15 feet long and gets partial shade from being under a big Norway Spruce in the neighbour's yard behind.


Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover before 

The original plantings included three Blue Pfitzer Junipers (Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Pfitzeriana Glauca'), one Dappled Willow (Salix integra 'Hakuro-nishiki'), and two "Wine and Roses" Weigelas. 

All in the same 60 square feet garden bed. 

I can only speculate on the decision making process of the contractor who originally bought and planted these shrubs: "Yep, I'll pick up these plants at the same place I'm getting my lumber, shoehorn them in and let the homeowner deal with them when the shrubs get wider and taller. I'll be long gone by then."




Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover before Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover


Of course, the unsuspecting garden owner doesn't know any better.


After about five years later, I get the call (I originally met Shirin last year). The junipers by then almost filled the bed's space with the willow and weigelas fighting desperately to get any space. And the prickly evergreens were only going to get wider every year. Pruning them into contorted shapes wasn't the solution given their natural (more or less) horizontal growth habit.

So out they went.


Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover

I removed the junipers and willow in 2016 in preparation for new plantings in this bed. We decided to keep the two weigelas, a Rose of Sharon and the "Jack Frost" brunnera. My idea was to create a shade garden with perennials that offered some flower and foliage interest during the spring to fall period and were proportional (sympathetic?) with the bed's dimensions. The client doesn't look at this section during the winter so having broadleaf evergreens and other plants that give "winter interest" here is unimportant.



Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover after Paul Jung Gardening Services
Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover after


While I'm not in love with the weigelas here in the partial shade, they do flower reliably in the summer and only need some pruning occasionally. I removed two large, leggy and woody lavenders to free up the space for shade tolerant perennials like astilbe, sweet woodruff, "Ice Dance" Carex, and turtlehead. I also divided the two existing large clumps of brunnera as I adore this plant in shady spots. The picture above is seen from the back deck looking down a few feet.


Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Humewood Toronto backyard garden makeover after 



Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover after Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover after 

Please excuse the lovely blue recycling bin to the left above. It's not a garden ornament!



Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto backyard garden makeover after 

I'll need to prune the Rose of Sharon (upper left corner) to control its size and shape. While it is a very common shrub here in zone 5 Toronto, it does flower like clockwork every late summer and early fall. I advised Shirin that the astilbes need regular watering to prevent their leaves from going "crispy"; otherwise, they don't need a lot of fussing with. The same could be said for the other perennials too.
Luckily, my client here understands that the concept of a "low maintenance" garden isn't the same as a "no maintenance" one and is fine with dragging the hose out once in a while.

This idea can be a challenge to get across to some homeowners at times!

September 07, 2017

A Fall Garden Cleanup in Leslieville

To Market, To Market...



It's September, the kids are back in school and there's a definite chill in the air these mornings. I love working in the fall as temperatures and humidity levels are lower and I'm not slumped somewhere in the shade trying to stay hydrated. It's hard to believe that only a month ago I was melting outside plucking weeds in the high humidity.

I'm still plucking weeds, though, and getting ready for the "fall cleanups" which keep me very busy later in October and November.

This post covers a "fall cleanup" in the sense that I was asked to weed this front yard after Labour Day. The owners of this house in Toronto's family-friendly Leslieville neighbourhood are putting the house up for sale and wisely decided to invest some money to get the front ready for market by increasing its curb appeal. Yes, believe it or not, having the front garden showing off nice and vigorous specimens of dog strangling vine (Cynanchum rossicum syn. Vincetoxicum rossicum) and Siberian Elm saplings (sarcasm) may cause some potential buyers to question how messy and unkempt the house is inside.



Leslieville Toronto fall cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The baby mattress was present when I first arrived!





Leslieville fall cleanup before Toronto Gardening Services
More than few Siberian elm saplings 
trying to take over the front yard





Leslieville Toronto fall clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The view from the sidewalk up to the front door





Leslieville Toronto fall clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
And from the front door to the sidewalk




Leslieville fall cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Two Colorado Blue Spruces planted way too 
close to each other but that's another story



And after the weeding was done...




Leslieville Toronto fall cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto fall cleanup after 




Leslieville fall cleanup after Toronto Gardening Services
A few bags of cedar mulch should finish the job




Leslieville fall clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville fall clean up after 




Leslieville Toronto fall clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto fall clean up after 




Leslieville fall cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Leslieville fall cleanup after