November 18, 2017

A Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup in the Greektown-Danforth neighbourhood

A Few More Leaves, A Few More Weeks....


Half decent days for working outside are fewer as we enter in late November here in Toronto. While it was just above freezing yesterday, working conditions were dry at least. This makes a fall cleanup so much easier and almost enjoyable!

I visit Brian, my client, about three times a year and tidy up the back and front yards. The property located in the Greektown-Danforth area isn't large but being surrounded by trees, the area receives more than its fair share of leaves.


Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup before


Greektown on the Danforth Toronto Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
"Cut down hostas, cut down hostas...." 
is my mantra every November. You can see the yellow 
collapsed hosta mess to the right.


Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
These lilac leaves dropped overnight after 
last week's "flash freeze"; hence, there was 
no appreciable fall colour for this shrub.


Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Lots of maple leaves to greet me on this sunny and brisk November morning.


Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup before 


Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after


Greektown on the Danforth Toronto Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Greektown on the Danforth Toronto Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after


Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Greektown on the Danforth Fall Backyard Garden Cleanup after 

Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
You can actually see the sidwalk and path to the house again!
 

Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Greektown on the Danforth Fall Front Garden Cleanup after

I've planted many dozens of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocus in the front bed shown above over the years so we should get another nice show next early spring.

A few more fall cleanups to show so bear with me, dear reader!

November 16, 2017

!Hasta La Vista, Hostas!

A Fall Garden Cleanup in Toronto's Oakwood Village 


Hostas are perennials found in many Toronto gardens (to the point of being overused) so more often than not, I deal with removing their collapsed foliage during a fall cleanup. The picture below shows the typical "fall hosta flop" as these perennials are entering into dormancy. You could leave the foliage alone over the winter as the plants will send up new shoots faithfully next spring but most of my clients want to remove this type of mushy mess now.


Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services before
Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup before


Oakwood Village Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup before 

This burning bush above still has decent fall foliage. I'll remove the faded flowers from the Hydrangea paniculata "Grandiflora" standard since the client doesn't see this shrub from the house. If it was my shrub, I'd leave it alone until next spring as the flowers do collect the snow, providing some "winter interest".


Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup before

The shrub on the right side of the picture above is a ubiquitous Rose of Sharon. I'm not in love with this plant but the client wanted to keep it during this garden's makeover which I profiled in this post titled "Establishing Proportion in a Toronto Shade Garden ("Yes, these junipers will get big!") I find the Rose of Sharon just self-seeds everywhere so as a preventive measure, I cut off as many seedheads right now but it's guaranteed that I'll also pull out a dozen seedlings by next summer.




Oakwood Village Backyard Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Toronto Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Backyard Fall Cleanup before 

The side bed has faded Astilbe, Brunnera and Chelone (turtlehead) stalks and stems, which I'll cut down. At the front of the border, the row of sweet woodruff is filling in nicely, except for one spot to the right where it died. I'll need to replace it next spring!



And here are the corresponding pictures afterwards:


Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services after
Goobye hostas until next May....



Oakwood Village Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup after


Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Toronto Fall Backyard Cleanup after


Oakwood Village Backyard Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Toronto Gardening Services
Oakwood Village Backyard Fall Cleanup after 



A perennial that hasn't collapsed (and won't) is a very useful sedge (Carex) shown below called "Ice Dance". Toronto had two nights of very atypical and extremely cold temperatures in the minus 10-15 Celsius range last week but these sedges didn't care.

They are not touched at all right now as they will keep their form all winter. By next spring, yes, they'll look a little beat up with many of the leaves turned brown. I just grab the old leaves "by their hair" if you can imagine and clip down to 6 inches or so. New and fresh-looking shoots will emerge by May. 


Carex morrowii  'Ice Dance' Japanese Sedge by garden muses-not another Toronto gardening blog
Carex morrowii  'Ice Dance' Japanese Sedge 



November 14, 2017

A Bedford Park, Toronto Backyard Garden Fall Cleanup

Tidy Up Quickly, Winter's Coming (er, it Actually Arrived!)


Another couple of weeks before this work season is finished and the fall cleanups just keep coming! Working in the cold is tough enough but add a bit of rain/sleet/snow and it really becomes hard slogging.

We had a "flash freeze" last week where several nights had temperatures plummet to -15 Celsius. It's rare to have such low temperatures in November here in Toronto. I worked the morning after the storm rolled in and I can safely say, it sucked. Perennials I'm cutting down have turned to mush and containers I'm trying to empty now hold solid blocks of soil and ice.

Today's post covers a fall cleanup in the Bedford Park neighbourhood of Toronto. I visit the property in the spring and fall to keep things looking halfway decent. It's a rental property so the gardens are left to their own devices so I never really know what to expect in terms of maintenance.

The backyard has a pool so I'm responsible for weeding and pruning the perennials and shrubs in the narrow side beds as shown below.




Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung
More peonies and hydrangeas to cut down in this narrow bed



Bedford Park Toronto Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
I don't mind leaving these "Annabelle" smooth hydrangea 
flowers alone for the winter but the client said, 
more or less, "off with their heads!"




Bedford Park Toronto Garden Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
These mophead hydrangeas (Hortensia) normally 
still keep their leaves in early November but the 
freezing temperatures have turned them almost black



Toronto Bedford Park Garden Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The back corner is simply covered in mulch



Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Backyard Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung
If you can help it, just leave these ornamental grasses alone over winter. 
But the client wanted all the perennials cut down, so....



Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Backyard Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung
Frozen and thawed hosta leaves. It's a shame that 
this blue leaved variety ("Halcyon"?) never had a chance 
to turn a mellow yellow colour.  It's all a mess of mushy leaves and stems.


And afterwards....




Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung
Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park
Garden Fall Clean up after 



Bedford Park Toronto Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Bedford Park Toronto Garden 
Fall Clean up after


Bedford Park Toronto Garden Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Bedford Park Toronto Garden 
Fall Cleanup after


Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Backyard Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung
Bedford Park Backyard Fall Clean up after 


Toronto Gardening Services Bedford Park Backyard Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung
Bedford Park Backyard Fall Cleanup after 


Fall Cleanup Bedford Park Toronto after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Fall Cleanup Bedford Park Toronto after 





I bid this garden adieu until next spring. I'm sure there will be many weeds to greet me then!




November 08, 2017

A Leslieville Back Yard Garden Fall Cleanup

Getting yet another Toronto Garden Ready For Winter 


And yes, it definitely feels like winter here in Toronto and it's only the beginning of November. I just hope it's not an omen of a brutally cold winter but I'm hearing we're "due" for one.

In the meantime, I'm swamped with fall cleanups so you, dear reader, are the recipient of all my fine work. 

This post covers a Leslieville backyard garden being cleaned up a little recently. I won't use the word "winterize" as I've seen other landscaping companies describe their philosophy about working in gardens at this time of the year by using this term. That word in quotes suggests something you do to a car or furnace or some other inanimate object, certainly not to a garden.


Leslieville Toronto Backyard Garden Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto Backyard
Garden Fall Cleanup before 



Toronto Gardening Services Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung
 Leslieville Backyard Garden
Fall Clean up before

It seems like I've been cutting down hostas and herbaceous peonies continuously for the past 2 weeks and this cleanup isn't different. You can see hostas in their death throes above and below. 

Just kidding, they're just entering dormancy with the foliage turning yellow, collapsing and getting mushy.



Toronto Gardening Services Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung
 Leslieville Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up before 


Toronto Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up before 


Same deal with the prostrate peonies below. They seem to begging the garden owner to "cut me down and put us out of our misery." I was only too willing to oblige...



Leslieville Toronto Backyard Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up before


And post-cleanup....



Leslieville Toronto Backyard Garden Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto Backyard
Garden Fall Cleanup after


I didn't bring my leaf blower (electric battery not gas!) to this location so there are a few leaves here and there after raking. This client is more than willing to tolerate a few leaves after the cleanup and even if she didn't, the huge silver maple in the backyard is shedding its leaves by the second.



Toronto Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville Backyard
Garden Fall Cleanup after 


Those readers with keen eyes will notice that I left a few perennials alone (heresy for a fall cleanup?). Well, with the monkshood blooming beautifully, one would be insensitive or ignorant in cutting this to stubs.

After all, the homeowner has waited all year for these blooms and having me raze the perennial now would lead to tears and recriminations (mine!)



Leslieville Toronto Monkshood Aconitum fall flowers by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto Monkshood
(Aconitum) fall flowers 



I can't be certain of the cultivar but I think this monkshood's botanical name is Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii'. Just note that while monkshoods are very low maintenance, they're also very poisonous so some consideration is required about their presence. I find them at the back of a perennial border indispensable in the fall due to their height and that wonderful blue.


Monkshood Aconitum fall flowers in a Toronto Leslieville Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Monkshood (Aconitum) fall flowers
in a Toronto Leslieville Backyard 



Toronto Gardening Services Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung
 Leslieville Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up after 



Toronto Leslieville Backyard Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Leslieville Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up after 



Leslieville Toronto Backyard Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Leslieville Toronto Backyard
Garden Fall Clean up after

Again, I want to point out that a fall cleanup doesn't require one cutting down all perennials. Leave those with strong stalks (e.g., the ubiquitous Sedum "Autumn Joy") and visually-interesting and/or nutritious seed heads for people and the birds (e.g., most ornamental grasses and purple coneflowers and black eyed Susans.)


If your gardener ignores this willfully or "forgets", it's time for a new gardener!


November 05, 2017

Fall Front Garden Cleanup in the Annex neighbourhood

"I Can See My Path Again, Thank You!"


I didn't expect to hear those words after this fall cleanup for a client in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto but I always accept compliments!

The interlocking brick paver path leading from the sidewalk to the front door had a few weeds growing in the cracks so I dealt with them with my handy "crack weeder" tool. 


The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before



Toronto Paul Jung Gardening Services The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before
Toronto's The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before



The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up before 

This small garden section shown above was overtaken by the Creeping Charlie aka Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) from the neighbour's side on the right so I removed it along with cutting down the hosta and daylilies.




Toronto The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto's The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up before 

Proof above that junipers and spireae are leaf collectors. The area near the sidewalk was a little weedy but there weren't nearly as many leaves as I anticipated. Many trees are still holding their leaves even in early November here.


The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Toronto Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup before



The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after 




Toronto Paul Jung Gardening Services The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after
Toronto's The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after

The shrub in the middle of the picture above is a Japanese Kerria or simply Kerria (Kerria japonica) which I pruned lightly for shape. It has beautiful small yellow flowers in spring but suckers a little and often stems die back so I prune mine at home "hard" every few years to rejuvenate them.




The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up after

The weeded bed facing west shown above. It gets full sun from noon onwards so this section can be planted full of flowering perennials. The area to the right belongs to the neighbour and is more or less neglected so weeds will always try to spread over. I used up two half bags of different types of mulch, in case you're wondering!




Toronto The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto's The Annex Front Garden Fall Clean up after



The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Toronto Gardening Services
The Annex Front Garden Fall Cleanup after 

And the leaves continue to blow in....