September 07, 2019

Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown

Labouring on Labour Day


Like a flick of switch, temperatures last week dropped. Fall is definitely in the air and while leaves haven't begun to change colour, it definitely doesn't feel like summer any more. I can't complain too much as conditions working outside are so much better for me: very little humidity and lower temperatures mean I can weed and prune without gulping water every few minutes or having the fear of passing out due to heat exhaustion.

September is also a great time to plant new perennials, shrubs and trees but it's uncommon for me to put in new gardens now as most homeowners don't associate autumn with new plants. The weeding, however, still continues, as this post will show.



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


The client, Cynthia, contacted me to deal with her front garden (located in central Toronto's Koreatown neighbourhood) which is on a slope as shown above. (The picture was taken across the street, to give you a sense of perspective and scale.)  It's a little, ahem, "overgrown"! I can only conclude than no weeding occurred at all in 2019 and who knows prior. I think you can make out the boxwood balls in the forefront but most of the rest of the vegetation are weeds.


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

Here are some views from the upper tier, looking down towards the street. While the slope wasn't too severe, working while standing on an angle is never easy on the ankles, legs and back. To be honest, I did most of the weeding sitting (and sliding) down.


Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Front Yard Cleanup Before


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


Toronto Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Front Yard
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


This picture shows the path (somewhere hidden) connecting the neighbours, which the mail delivery person must use all down this street.


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


These next two pictures were taken from the sidewalk, looking up the slope. The Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) saplings, Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis),  Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriolaand Goosefoot (Chenopodium album) are all doing well!



Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before



And afterwards....



I kept about half of goldenrod that's flowering now for pollinators but dug out everything else. Those poor hostas below the goldenrods were smothered previously. I can almost hear them now sigh in relief!



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



I'm guessing the change in elevation from the upper tier to the top of bottom retaining wall is about 15 feet. Erosion control will have to be considered. Laying down mulch, while suppressing weeds, will likely result in having it run down after heavy rains and snow melt. Mass planting of a groundcover like periwinkle (Vinca minor) could work to reduce erosion but it will take time before a thick mat takes hold.



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


Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
 Front Yard Cleanup After 



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


I'd certainly mulch the level upper tier area at the base of the tree. The grass is also failing as it's in shade for most of the day and never fertilized. I also suggested that it be dug out and the entire upper tier be mulched.



Toronto Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown After 


Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Front Yard
Cleanup in Koreatown After


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown After 


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before


Onwards and upwards to the fall cleanups, dear reader! 

August 06, 2019

Leslieville Front Garden Makeover

Garden Makeover or "Resurrection"? You Decide...


Everyone's busy, that's just a fact of modern life. For many homeowners, looking after the garden is low on the list of priorities. Very low. I'd say, for some, visiting the dentist is likely more enjoyable than getting out there on your knees weeding in the summer heat. In my case, it's easier for them to pay me to have my rear up pulling at unwanted pieces of vegetation.

So I'm guessing that someone would probably be very busy and/or uninterested with garden maintenance or neighbour's opinions to let the front garden to look like this:




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


(Please note: I'm not criticizing or judging anyone specifically as my own front garden is horrible.)

It's not an uncommon scenario: you'll walk by well-kept (or at least minimally-kept) gardens, one after another, down the street and then stop and notice a front yard that's "gotten away." Based on the "before" pictures in this post, you could say that the weeds have gotten away and out of hand:




Leslieville Toronto Front Garden Weeding and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Leslieville Toronto Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover Before 



Leslieville Toronto Front Garden Weeding and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Leslieville Toronto Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover Before 



Leslieville Toronto Front Yard Summer Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Leslieville Toronto Front Yard
Summer Cleanup Before


Here's the view from the front porch:



Toronto Leslieville Front Garden Weeding and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Leslieville Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover Before 


And from the sidewalk towards the house:


Toronto Leslieville Front Garden Weeding and Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Leslieville Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover Before 


I was contacted by "Jane", the homeowner's sibling (I'll call the owner "Jack" and his sister "Jane") who has done the weeding for her brother in the past (now that's a good sister!) but had reached a point this summer of no return. I don't blame her, I'd feel a little tired pulling out very mature and deep-rooted weeds like Canada Thistle, Prickly Lettuce and Goosefoot (to name a few) year after year.

Jane wanted the front garden weeded, mulched and planted with new low maintenance perennials. So that's what I did....

A Garden "Resurrected"


Firstly, I wanted to credit my sister-in-law Angela (not a pseudonym) for coming up with her phrase of a "garden resurrection." She has seen many of my garden cleanup and makeover projects over the years through social media and on one occasion after I weeded and "renovated" a garden that needed a little TLC (sarcasm), she remarked "that wasn't a garden cleanup, that was a garden resurrection!"  I don't know if gardens can be brought back from the dead or not and this Leslieville (a trendy east Toronto neighbourhood) front garden is anything but dead given the lush growth of the weeds; therefore, I'll stick with the more commercial and less-religious idea of a garden makeover.

I dug out all the weeds by hand with my trusty and slightly rusty long handled shovel, transplanted many "lower maintenance" perennials like Threadleaf Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, and "Autumn Joy" Sedum and spread many bags of mulch.

Here are the "after" results:



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


Toronto Leslieville Front Garden Weeding and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Leslieville Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover After 


Toronto Leslieville Front Garden Weeding and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Leslieville Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover After 


Leslieville Toronto Front Garden Weeding and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Leslieville Toronto Front Garden
Weeding and Makeover After 


Leslieville Toronto Front Garden Weeding and Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Leslieville Toronto Front Garden
 Weeding and Makeover After 


Leslieville Toronto Front Yard Summer Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Leslieville Toronto Front
Yard Summer Cleanup After 


Yes, it does look like a sea of black dyed mulch (it is) but given Jack's (remember, the homeowner) inability to weed (he's very busy at work), the mulch should reduce but not eliminate the amount of weeds germinating. Lastly, I asked him to water occasionally with the hose since I didn't design an xeriscape.

I fully anticipate that whatever new weeds which manage to emerge will grow unimpeded as Jack will not do anything about them. The silver lining would be that pollinators love thistle flowers so it's not all downside about nature trying to reclaim things again! Like all makeovers in life, the work is never truly over.

August 03, 2019

A New Toronto Pollinator Garden near Wychwood Barns

Giving Plenty of Reasons for Bees and Butterflies to Come Over


I wouldn't say removing front lawns and replacing turf with wildlife-friendly plants is my raison d'etre but when the opportunity arises, it's exciting to plan and execute such a sustainable idea. In the right situation, lawns are great to play on, easy on the feet, capture rainwater, etc. but let's face it, having a nice looking patch of grass takes energy, time and money to maintain. (For most lawn owners, especially it seems male ones, "nice looking" means a weed-free carpet of Kentucky Bluegrass mowed to 2.5 inches worthy of garden parties and weddings.)

What happens, though, when your small front lawn (say an area of 12 feet by 12 feet as in this post) goes to sh*t and you don't want to deal with re-sodding or re-seeding and get into the endless cycle of fertilizing, watering, and mowing your very expensive 144 square feet of Toronto property? What if, on the other hand, you (the homeowner) prefers to have plants which invite birds, bees, butterflies as opposed to raccoons and skunks ripping up your turf looking for grubs? 

There are options....


I've worked for Laura and Greg, the homeowners, for many years and seen the front lawn (aforementioned 144 square foot area) deteriorate from pests and weeds to the point that they pulled out whatever remaining patches of grass last year. Laura wanted to plant some hydrangeas but I suggested another strategy. She has three young children so perhaps she would be interested in teaching them about ecology, life cycles of plants and insects, etc. Maybe transplanting a range of native plants (perennials here) could be more informative and educational (best case scenario for the kids) while involving less work, aside from occasional watering and seasonal pruning (best case scenario for Laura and Greg.)

They were very open to the idea of ditching their rotary mower so asked me to come up with a list of native plants to Southern Ontario and "make over" the front. They got the plants right away (I love committed clients)  but I had to weed the front garden first in preparation.

Below are some pictures of the front garden before the renovation from various views. The site is in full sun, facing south, with no automatic irrigation system in place. The assortment of vigorously-growing weeds shows that growing nicer stuff was promising.



Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Installation Before 




Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before 




Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before 




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Before 




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Before




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Makeover Before




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Makeover Before 




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Makeover Before




Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation Before 



Stage One: Let's Get Rid of Those Weeds!




Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Mid Way by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front
Garden Installation Mid Way 


Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation Mid Way by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front
Garden Installation Mid Way 



Stage Two: Transplanting Perennials


Now that I had a clean "blank slate", planting the new native perennials was straight-forward. (What did I plant? Some of the usual pollinator-friendly stalwarts like Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Asclepias, and Monarda.)

I placed them in groups and formed a mulched pathway around the massed plantings. This allows for easier access to maintain the perennials (yes, I know "maintain" is a dirty word but "no maintenance" is an even dirtier phrase). Laura's kids can walk around easily to view the butterflies and bees in closeup while I can weed in the future without constantly worrying about stepping on things. 

Walking in this garden is greatly encouraged!



Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Front Garden Installation After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Front
Garden Installation After 


Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator
 Garden Installation After 



Toronto Wychwood Pollinator Garden Installation After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Wychwood Pollinator
 Garden Installation After



Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Installation After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator
Front Garden Installation After 


Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator
Front Garden Makeover After 



Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Installation After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator
Garden Installation After


Wychwood Toronto Pollinator Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Toronto Pollinator
Garden Makeover After


And a Few Weeks Later...


I returned to clip the "L" shaped boxwood hedge, weed and add some more mulch. All the perennials are growing happily, I'm glad to report. (The Anise-Hyssop (Agastache) seemed to have doubled in size.) I saw many types of butterflies and bees visiting this small garden. 

It's gratifying to add beauty and food (for the insects and perhaps birds) to Toronto, one garden at a time. I don't miss planting hydrangeas at all and I'm sure Laura would agree.



Wychwood Barns Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Wychwood Barns Toronto Pollinator
Front Garden Makeover After 


Wychwood Barns Toronto Pollinator Front Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Wychwood Barns Toronto Pollinator
Front Garden Makeover After













July 19, 2019

Leslieville Summer Front Garden Weeding

Summer 2019 Rolls On and the Weeds Follow in Step


After a relatively cold and wet May, it's truly feeling like summer with temperatures soaring into the mid-high 30s (Celsius) and humidex readings into the 40s this week! With higher temperatures and copious amounts of rain, the weeds naturally have exploded in growth. Which means many business requests for me. A virtuous circle as it were. 

Let's face it: few of us (myself included) want to be out in furnace-like conditions pulling or digging out little (and not so little) bits of unwanted vegetation when our summers here in Toronto are so short. I would be mortified to show you my backyard.

This post brings us back to, Leslieville, a neighbourhood I visit frequently in Toronto's east-end. I weed this client's front yard annually (yes, really, once a year!) It's very small but usually jammed pack full of weeds when I arrive.



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




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




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




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


I transplanted some extra common-as-nails variegated hostas  after removing the weedy grass, as shown above.




Leslieville Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
A variety of annual weeds fill the 
garden bed near the front edge



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




Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville Before



Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville After



Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville Before



Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Leslieville After




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



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



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



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


I recommended to the client that she place some mulch down to reduce the amount of grass and other wind-borne weed seedlings from popping up again. If you ask me, one of the top five "worst" weeds I encounter is grass or turf growing in flower beds. Strangely, no one around this house is growing a lawn (too many trees, too small a frontage) so it's a bit of mystery where the grass seeds are coming from!