July 17, 2019

Annual Garden Maintenance In Riverdale

Riverdale Summer Garden Cleanup: When the Landlord's Away, the Gardens Will Go Astray...


If you see a very weedy front garden, there's a high probability that the property is rented and the homeowner lives off-site. I've come across this scenario many times over the years. A tenant will only notify the landlord to pass on a complaint from (usually) the neighbour. "Out of sight, out of mind" for most landlords.

I've actually profiled this front garden (which is a large raised bed on a corner lot) in August 2018 in a post titled "Weeding a Riverdale Corner Garden and Driveway: Better Late Than Never--A (Really) Late Summer Toronto Garden Cleanup" when the weeds were actually even higher! The owner contacted me again for another cleanup to not only pull out all the new weeds but rake up the old leaves from last autumn. 

This is truly annual garden maintenance!



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


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


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

 

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


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

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


Post Cleanup....


After the annual weeds were pulled out and old decaying autumn 2018 leaves were raked away, another 2-3 inch layer of mulch was applied. Otherwise, we'll have "pasture"-like conditions by the end of this season.




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


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


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


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


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


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



Let's see how things are in a year!

June 23, 2019

Channelling Hokusai in Summerhill

A New Toronto Garden Installation in Shady Summerhill


The project seemed straight-forward: the client, Dawn, wanted a new shade garden facing the street. I first visited the site in April 2019 so most of the existing perennials were dormant and the garden was visually a blank slate as shown below:



Summerhill Toronto New Front Shade Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Shade Garden Makeover Before



Summerhill Toronto New Front Shade Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Shade Garden Makeover Before 

Toronto Summerhill New Front Shade Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summerhill New Front
Shade Garden Makeover Before


Summerhill Toronto New Front Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Garden Makeover Before



New Summerhill Toronto Front Shade Garden Renovation Before by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
New Summerhill Toronto Front
Shade Garden Renovation Before 

Summerhill Toronto New Front Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Garden Makeover Before


Summerhill Toronto New Front Perennial Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Perennial Garden Makeover Before


I came up with a list of perennials and small shrubs for the partly sunny-shady site. My choices offered multi-season floral and foliage interest. Dawn didn't go over the list with a fine toothed comb so everything I suggested was ordered and delivered for "transplanting day." 

Then things became interesting...

When I arrived, Dawn was out walking her dog so she left a note advising me of her imminent return. The note also had this very well-known picture printed on it:



"Under a wave off Kanagawa"), also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa


She wrote instructions that she wanted the new garden to give her a similar sense of energy as depicted by the famous wave (I'm paraphrasing.)

(I'll copy and paste these notes from Wikipedia about "The Great Wave off Kanagawa":

"The Great Wave off Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏 かながわおきなみうら Kanagawa-oki nami ura, lit. "Under a wave off Kanagawa"), also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. It was published sometime between 1829 and 1833[1] in the late Edo period as the first print in Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is Hokusai's most famous work, and one of the most recognizable works of Japanese art in the world."

(Source: The Great Wave off Kanagawa))



The Fine Art and Science of Digging Holes


Hmmmm...


There is a science behind transplanting correctly but where to dig these darn holes relies more on the gardener's aesthetic sensibilities. Dawn's "instructions" were nebulous and fluid in meaning (pun intended). She didn't show me a picture of a Japanese garden (or any garden) and said "copy this, or approximate it anyway."  Just this picture, albeit very well-known, from Edo-period Japan and words about "feeling the energy from the new garden similar to what the wave emits" or something to that effect.

Hokusai's famous print shows a huge wave about to devour three fishing boats--its pent up energy is about destroy the hapless fishermen below the towering crest. It is both terrifying and beautiful, dwarfing revered Mount Fuji in the background.

I'd like the new garden to be beautiful over time (not so much terrifying) with a sense of energy, movement and flow; consequently, I placed the perennials and a few shrubs to emulate streams, rivulets, eddies and minimized the appearance of straight lines.

After a full day of transplanting, I showed Dawn my three dimensional living interpretation of Hokusai's woodblock print. I wasn't exactly sure how she would react (and, to be honest, I don't think she even knew what to expect) but she loved the results as shown below:



Summerhill Toronto New Front Shade Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Shade Garden Makeover After



Summerhill Toronto New Front Shade Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Shade Garden Makeover After

Toronto Summerhill New Front Shade Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summerhill New Front
Shade Garden Makeover After 



Summerhill Toronto New Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Garden Makeover After 



New Summerhill Toronto Front Shade Garden Renovation After by Paul Jung--a Toronto Organic Gardener
New Summerhill Toronto Front
Shade Garden Renovation After




Summerhill Toronto New Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Garden Makeover After



Summerhill Toronto New Front Perennial Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill Toronto New Front
Perennial Garden Makeover After


As a bonus (and a first for me), Dawn invited me to take this picture from the second floor deck, giving us a birds-eye view of the garden's overall shape and plant placement.



Summerhill New Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Summerhill New Front Garden Makeover After 


This will be an amazing garden (I can be immodest here) in a few years if watered and weeded regularly. The perennials should easily double or triple in size once established and the black mulch will be mostly hidden by foliage.

I'm eagerly waiting for my next garden installation to emulate Mona Lisa's wry smile.

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!