June 13, 2019

Me, the Goutweed Removal Machine!


Saving a Bedford Park, Toronto Front Garden Bed


The proverb "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile" applies to many weedy perennial groundcovers plaguing Toronto gardeners. You may know the culprits by sight, if not by name: creeping bellflower, lily of the valley, plain green and variegated goutweed and let's not even dare mention Japanese Knotweed

In this short post, I'll show you how aggressively the plain Jane green version of goutweed or ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria ) can move through a garden bed and cause havoc with other plants. I've dug out as much of the goutweed last year but obviously by the "before" pictures below, not enough was removed as it has come back with a vengeance.

This view below is from the front door looking towards the street. The goutweed has travelled uninterrupted to cover about two-thirds of the rectangular front bed. You'd never know there many "choice" perennials engulfed by the goutweed but they will be revealed...



Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before


Here's the view looking across the bed:

Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed Removal Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed
 Removal Spring Garden Cleanup Before

And from the other side...

Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before


Looking up the path leading to the front door:

Toronto Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Bedford Park Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup Before


Post Goutweed Removal:



Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup After 




Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed Removal Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed
Removal Spring Garden Cleanup After

Ironically, this cleanup forced me to divide many perennials like hostas, daylilies and irises that had goutweed stems and roots infiltrating their own root balls. 



Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup After 

The new mulch will help reduce airborne weed seeds from germinating (and lower watering needs) but is completely ineffective in stopping weeds that travel by underground stems or roots. The goutweed ignores this surface layer and happily moves through the bed unless you do something about it.



Toronto Bedford Park Front Yard Goutweed Removal Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Bedford Park Front Yard
Goutweed Removal Cleanup After
 


My g(o)ut(weed) feeling is that the infestation problem will occur unless this client hires me or someone to dig out new baby goutweed plants which inevitably will return, even with my best efforts.


June 10, 2019

Wychwood Spring/Summer Garden Cleanup


When the Landlord's Away, the Gardens Will Go Astray...


Tidying up gardens at rental properties are usually a challenge for me. The landlord is likely not around to see or care about the state of things outside and the tenants, naturally, rent for clean and safe conditions inside and not for fine gardening to and from the front door. Gardens, therefore, tend to decline quickly if maintenance arrives once a year (maybe), if ever. The amount of weeding and pruning can be staggering for a one person gardening company (me.)

Fortunately, it wasn't "staggeringly bad" with this front and backyard cleanup in Toronto's Wychwood neighbourhood but bad enough.


Here's the front yard before the cleanup:



Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before 


I knew it was at least a year since anyone has tended the front garden as it was choked with litter flying in off the street, decayed crabapple fruit and leaves and plenty of weeds. And who knows when the shrubs were last pruned?


Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After 

The "after" picture above reveals a half decent garden with an actual path!


Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before 



Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After 



Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before

Here's the view from the street, before and after some vigorous raking and judicious pruning. And, yes, trash collection...



Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After 



Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before 



Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After 



Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before 



Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup After 



Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto Before

The view from the porch. I pruned the silver-leaf dogwoods a few feet down to allow someone/anyone to actually see the garden.


Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Front Yard Spring Cleanup Toronto After by 


And the backyard....



Work in the back garden mainly consisted of pruning overgrown thornless roses, lilacs and an Arrowwood viburnum and some weeding in the beds and interlocking brick path.


Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup Before 



Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup After 



Toronto Wychwood Backyard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Wychwood Backyard Spring Cleanup Before



Toronto Wychwood Backyard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Wychwood Backyard Spring Cleanup After 



Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup Before 



Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup After Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Wychwood Toronto Backyard Spring Cleanup After


I may be back a year from now and I have a good idea how the gardens will be then: ignored!

May 25, 2019

Greektown Spring Garden Cleanup

Another Toronto Spring Cleanup on the Danforth? Opa!


It's still May so I have no hesitation showing you more spring cleanup projects for 2019!

Today's post brings us to the bustling neighbourhood of Greektown near "the Danforth", a main street on which many Greek restaurants are clustered. Getting to this client's place usually involves smelling the delicious odours of grilled souvlaki rather than flowering trees or shrubs!

Brian, the client, usually hires me twice a year to a) tidy up and plant annuals in the spring and b) rake up the fall leaves. The front and back areas are typically small (for this neighbourhood) so cleaning things up and transplanting wasn't onerous.


Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before



Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden After 




Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before 



Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Greektown Spring Cleanup Back Garden After 



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Garden Before



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Garden After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Garden After



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden Before 



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden After 



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden Before 



Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Greektown Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Garden After 


You may notice the large bare spot to the left of the picture above. A huge silver maple was taken down a few months ago and its trunk occupied that bare patch which is along the property line. Brian now is dealing with the owner next door, an absentee landlord, to see if the boulder retaining wall can be extended. During a heavy rainfall, lots of water gushes down that bare slope but since most of exposed area (maybe 75%) is the neighbour's property, my client can only do so much.

May 22, 2019

A Riverdale Backyard New Garden Installation

Bye Bye Boxwood!


From initial meeting to cleanup to garden bed preparation to transplanting...for me, garden-making is relatively straightforward. After doing this for 15 years, I have a good idea of what plants "work" based on the site realities, client preferences and, not unimportantly, budget constraints.  I thought there would be few, if any, obstacles from start to finish with this Riverdale, Toronto garden renovation. Easy peasy, as it were. 

I assumed that the soil in the rectangular garden bed would be easy to dig into, making transplanting not painful and maybe even fun. It wasn't meant to be, of course. I started to dig a few preliminary holes and sure enough, I was hitting lots of surface roots from a spruce tree nearby. There was also a decent patch of lily of the valley to contend with.

So much for easy peasy...

I've profiled this backyard in an earlier post titled "A Riverdale Spring Cleanup in Preparation for New Plantings: An Old Boxwood Facing Its Final Days... " which showed some "before" and "after" pictures from the spring cleanup occurring in April 2019. 

After said cleanup, I provided the client with a list of plants to buy for the garden makeover. She politely arranged delivery and things were set.

Finally, I could put this old and unpruned boxwood out of its misery:



Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 
What does a boxwood look like if it's ignored for many years? As the picture above shows, not very nice. This broadleaf evergreen hardly qualifies as a specimen unless it's clipped into a topiary (and regularly clipped). But this is what draws your eyes when looking down the path to the parking area and from the deck: a diseased and, well, ugly boxwood. A perfect focal point in the garden, for all the wrong reasons.




Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 

The above view towards the deck and back of the house isn't much more inspiring. A half-alive euonymus/winter creeper and a shrub next to the deck is about it for visual interest.





Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before

There's also this small bed on the other side of the stairs. In part/full shade for most of the day, the peony on the right side will never thrive so out it comes.




Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 

Here's the view from the top of the stairs and the deck looking down. Sorry that it's a bit out of focus but you see the general picture.



And afterwards...





Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 
Above is the view looking down the back half of the bed towards the gate and parking area. I replaced the decrepit boxwood with a fresh Serviceberry, placed a row of dogwood shrubs along the horizontal fence and planted an assortment of shade tolerant perennials like ferns, hostas and Japanese Forest Grass.



Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 
This small serviceberry should get to 15-20 feet tall if all things go well.




Riverdale New Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale New Backyard Garden Makeover After 
When the homeowners open the gate after parking the car, they'll see a mass of perennials and shrubs as they walk into the house. New transplants always look puny and underwhelming so let's be charitable and give them a few years to get established and really fill in.


Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After
Looking down about 6 feet from the deck railing. I misjudged the number of Hakone grasses as we're about two short in order to fully form a border next to the interlocking brick path. 

The grasses can be planted anytime, easy peasy.

May 14, 2019

A Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup

Cutting Down a Few Ornamental Grasses in Spring



The weather so far this May has been mediocre with lower than average temperatures and plenty of rain. I'd say right now we're about two weeks behind a "normal" Toronto spring when it comes to bloom times. Usually the forsythias are finished blooming by now but I see many still with lots of yellow flowers.

But come rain or shine, I'm receiving many requests for spring cleanups. This post bring us back to the downtown Toronto neighbourhood of Cabbagetown for another client visit.

The front yard is very small, typical for this area. I left the ornamental grasses (Miscanthus sp.)  alone last fall when I did the fall cleanup so now have to deal with them. All they require is to have the old stalks cut down to about 6 inches from the ground. Miscanthus (maiden grass) is a warm season grass so new shoots will emerge by late May (if it ever warms up!)

The greener sedges at the brick edging (likely Gold Fountains Sedge or Carex dolichostachya 'Kaga Nishiki') just need a bit of the trim to cut away the brown tips. New bight green leaves are already emerging with this beautiful sedge.




Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard Before


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard After 


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard Before 


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard After


And in the backyard...


The bulk of the work was done last fall when I raked and swept up most of Paper Birch leaves from the garden bed and patio. As in the front, the yellow ornamental grasses (Japanese Forest Grass now emerging) were left alone last autumn. They just need some tidying up as well by pulling away the old leaves.

Typical for Cabbagetown's small lots, there is no lawn or turf grown. On the maintenance scale, this garden is around a 2, which suits the busy homeowners fine.



Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard Before


Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard After


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard  Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard  Before 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard After 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup Back Yard  Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring
Cleanup Back Yard  Before 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring
Cleanup Back Yard After