July 11, 2020

A Riverdale 2020 Spring Cleanup

There's a Patio and Garden Somewhere Under All these Leaves!


We all lead busy lives and for many homeowners (lucky for me), cleaning up the various garden areas isn't a priority. I just think of it as job security!

This post goes over a recent spring cleanup in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood. Or, rather, a delayed fall 2019 tidy up since the bulk of the work involved raking up last autumn's leaves.

Here are some pictures from the backyard: As you can see, nothing intricate, most of the job involved scraping up the wet and matted maple leaves which were becoming nice leaf compost.



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

Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring Cleanup Before in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring
Cleanup Before in Riverdale

Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring Cleanup Before in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Small Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring
Cleanup Before in Riverdale

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

Toronto Back Garden Spring Cleanup Before in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Back Garden Spring
Cleanup Before in Riverdale 

Toronto Riverdale Back Garden Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Back Garden
Spring Cleanup Before 

This back raised garden area was full of weed tree saplings which germinated from nearby Tree of Heaven and maple trees.


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


The front area shown below had a few weeds but pruning the overgrown spirea and yew shrubs near the front steps was the priority:

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

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


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

Afterwards...



Riverdale Back Garden Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Riverdale Back Garden Spring Cleanup After 
My cordless electric leaf blower came in very handy in cleaning up the newly exposed flagstone.

Toronto 2020 Garden Spring Cleanup After in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto 2020 Garden Spring
Cleanup After in Riverdale 


Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring Cleanup After in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Small Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring
Cleanup After in Riverdale 

Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring Cleanup After in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto 2020 Back Garden Spring
Cleanup After in Riverdale 

Toronto Back Garden Spring Cleanup After in Riverdale by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Back Garden Spring
Cleanup After in Riverdale 


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


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


Toronto Riverdale Back Garden Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Back Garden
Spring Cleanup After


And, again, in the front afterwards. Clear access of the paths and front steps ensured.

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



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

July 07, 2020

A Shade Garden Makeover in North High Park

Under An Ancient Oak, A New Garden Emerges


Surprised to hear from me? I haven't posted anything in a while so I'll apologize now and get that out of the way.

It's been a very strange 2020 so far due to COVID-19: I wasn't allowed to work by the provincial government until early May and my clients had a very difficult time finding plants in general at the garden centres. Still, after all of this, one of my iron laws of garden maintenance is in effect: weeds continue to grow and my clients would prefer going to the dentist than being in their gardens weeding. Job security, I guess.

Today's post goes over one of my early May garden makeovers in the High Park North area of Toronto. The clients, a busy young couple with children, requested a new front garden under a very large and mature oak tree. They didn't want to spend too much on plants so I suggested about 15 shade tolerant perennials under the oak's high canopy.


Here are some "before" and "after" pictures of the shade garden around the oak:



High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before 


High Park North Toronto New Front Yard Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park North Toronto New Front Yard Makeover Before 

High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover Before 


Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before 

Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover Before 


High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover Before


Afterwards...



High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After 

The front garden looks very sparse but the homeowners now can add spring bulbs and more perennials if they wish.


High Park North Toronto New Front Yard Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
  High Park North Toronto New Front Yard Makeover After 

High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover After 

Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After

Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto High Park North New Front Yard Makeover After 

High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park North Spring Cleanup and Makeover After

February 16, 2020

A New Pollinator-Friendly Garden in Toronto's Garden District, Part Two

Let's Amp up the Insect Activity and Seasonal Interest, Shall We?


Another two months (hopefully) and I'll start my work season again. Perhaps I'll even execute this small project below which is the topic of this post. 

We're continuing from the last post and looking at three raised beds located in a condo courtyard somewhere in downtown Toronto. Here are bed number two's "before" picture and my proposal to makeover the small area to attract insects and birds while providing multi-seasonal visual interest for the condo owners who share the common paths and garden beds. 


A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before 

The bed above contains many run-of-the-mill hostas so besides the one week in May the existing serviceberry (Amelanchier) shrub (small tree) blooms, there's very little nectar to attract bees and butterflies on a consistent basis from May to October. (It is true, though, that the serviceberry provides highly desirable berries in the summer. It's the best thing going on in this bed!)

Other things to note, if you're keeping notes, is that the bed faces west, receives full sun until late afternoon and is irrigated automatically. Zero manual maintenance occurs, besides the custodian occasionally shearing the evergreen yew macaron.

Here's my quick drawing below suggesting native species of perennials (besides the Coreopsis cultivar) which provide food energy for wildlife, look attractive to our eyes and require relatively fewer maintenance dollars (this last point is always important to a condo board.)

Here's the list of perennials:



A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After

I realize that not all the perennials will bloom at the same time as the drawing suggests but this is only a quick mock up for illustration purposes and to make it easier for these clients to visualize what the bed could look like, more or less, at any time during the growing season.

And, yes, that yew would be removed!


January 28, 2020

A New Pollinator-Friendly Raised Bed Garden in Toronto, Part One

We Won't Be Missing Yew(s)


It's almost half way through my winter hiatus or hibernation and while "spring thoughts" shouldn't be in our minds yet, I am being inspired by some gardening books I'm reading now. I haven't posted anything in over a month and wonder why you, dear reader, even stick around this ghost town of a blog. But someone is reading so...onwards and upwards in 2020! 

Combing through my 2019 pictures, I realized I never wrote about a few design proposals for a courtyard complex I "maintain" (well, visit in the spring and fall only). I've posted some "before" and "after" pictures of the cleanups I've done for this condo board before. For example, here's a post titled Weeding Raised Beds in a Central Toronto Courtyard: Getting Gritty in Downtown Toronto that shows the beds before and after I work my magic!

There are about a dozen raised beds inside the private courtyard of various sizes and shapes. They all have yews (Taxus sp.), pruned into balls, ovals, alien spacecraft, etc. and most have hostas, that overused workhorse among perennials. That's more or less it. Lots of green.

Automatic irrigation is in place but no one looks after the plants' maintenance (i.e., no weeding or pruning occurs in the summer).

Some of the condo board members expressed an interest to modernize some of the beds as the feeling in the courtyard is definitely circa 1983. They asked me to come up with three drawings for three small beds as a start. In this post (and two future ones), I'll show the existing bed and my rendered sketch showing new perennial possibilities.

Here's "Bed A", for lack of a more scintillating description:


A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before 

It faces west but will be shaded by early afternoon due to a large tree located nearby. For this and the other raised beds,the clients wanted more plants that offer seasonal interest and encourage more wildlife (pollinators and birds especially) to visit.


My proposal...



A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After 

The yews, I suggest, would be removed but the existing native serviceberry kept. Four types of shade tolerant native species would fill in the small bed:



What do you think of my plant selection?

December 16, 2019

The 2019 Allan Gardens Conservatory Winter Flower Show

Masses of (unpainted) poinsettias, Hallelujah!


A disconcerting sight I've seen over the past few Christmas seasons is the spray-painting of poinsettias to give them a "glittering sheen". They don't need this embellishment which is literally gilding the poinsettia. I find it extremely tacky.

Luckily, the folks who design and plant the hundreds (thousands?) of poinsettias every December inside Toronto's Allan Gardens Conservatory for its annual Winter (formerly "Christmas") Flower Show forego using shiny poinsettias.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a lover of poinsettias as they truly deserve to be chucked out on January 1 (ever seen a leggy Poinsettia in July that's kept alive by an owner who couldn't bear to part with it after the holidays were over?)  but the idea of painting plants, dead or alive, doesn't sit well with me.

Now that the Christmas Curmudgeon has vented a little, let's enjoy the winter flowers and arrangements at this year's Winter Flower Show which runs until January 12, 2020 here in downtown Toronto.



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show eight by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show


Lots of poinsettias coming in this post but first let me show you this Amaryllis (Hippeastrum for the more exacting types, although no one calls it that). We usually see lots of Amaryllis, Cyclamen, and Paperwhites at the Winter Flower Show although this time there were no Hellebores, which was disappointing.


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show eightteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show eleven by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show fifthteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show five by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show

You can count on mass plantings of cyclamen and ornamental cabbages every December as part of the Winter Flower Show. The layer of variegated English Ivy at the front of the raised bed is, more or less, permanent as the other seasonal show flowers work around it. Those who grow perennials with silver-coloured leaves and flowers know this: silver connects plants of various colours, acting as a neutral of sorts.



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show four by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show fourteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show nine by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show nineteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

Bright orange and yellow Kalanchoes make up part of the left "topiary" above while magnolia leaves grace the model's skirt.




Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show one by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show seven by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show seventeen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show six by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show sixteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

The scent of paperwhites permeated this part of the Conservatory. I guess you either like or hate the strong scent!



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show ten by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show

An obligatory picture of a decidedly non-hardy bromeliad showing its somewhat holiday seasonal colours. We're inside a greenhouse after all!


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show thirteen by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show three by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

This container "floating" in the permanent koi-pond is wonderfully monochromatic: just shades of silver, white, green and brown. Very elegant, to me, but others may find it "too cold" as a container.


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twelve by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

A reindeer amidst the palms can work, you just go with the seasonal vibe!



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twenty by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentyfive by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

Poinsettias as bedding plants? Well, the picture above and below suggest the possibility.


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentyfour by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentyone by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentysix by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 

A "floral" dress that can be better described as a "succulent" dress. I appreciate the effort put into creating and executing this "living piece of clothing." 



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentythree by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 
In case you're wondering, the large tropical plants in the background above are permanent residents of the Conservatory. The colourful additions in the foreground are rotated in and out with the seasonal shows.


Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show twentytwo by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show 



Seasons greetings and thank you, dear reader, for being part of the "garden muses" experience again this year. We'll reconnect in a few months, closer to spring 2020!



Allan Gardens Conservatory 2019 Winter Flower Show two by garden muses--not another Toronto gardening blog
Allan Gardens Conservatory 
2019 Winter Flower Show