Minimalist design, luxuriant weeds
It's June and many couples have weddings on their minds, while I have weeding on mine. With the record amount of rain Toronto has had in May and the spike in temperatures lately, the weeds I've encountered during my work across the city have exploded in quantity and variety. I was reminded that weeds are opportunistic and adaptable like all organisms and that nature truly abhors a vacuum when I was hired to clean up these garden beds below in Toronto's King West Village neighbourhood recently.
You leave a bare spot of soil measuring 13' x 3' near a busy street for several months and you get this:
|King West Village Toronto front garden cleanup before|
A "sister" bed located in a shadier spot below is a little better (or less worse?):
|Toronto King West Village front garden cleanup before|
Each property also has a bed with a variety of prostrate juniper ("Blue Rug"?) in which a few weeds have popped up but not to the same extent as in the unmulched beds above. However, growers of these low-lying junipers know intimately how the ubiquitous evergreens attract and collect all sorts of debris near the sidewalk and the sprawling plants didn't disappoint, unfortunately for me.
|Toronto King West Village front garden clean up before|
|King West Village Toronto front garden clean up before|
Being a gardener in the city often involves unglamourous non-horticultural duties we didn't learn in school like trash collection and this cleanup produced a full garbage bag of discarded coffee cups, cigarette butts, old public transit transfers, etc. I felt like an anthropologist at times. Apparently, no one in the neighbourhood drinks at Starbucks but many prefer the other Canadian coffee chain, oy vey!
There are four small rectangular beds in total that were to be weeded but one had been done before my arrival as the homeowner likely couldn't take the look any longer and another bed was weeded by another homeowner's helper while I was there. He was a nice fellow and was helping out with some painting inside the house. His weeding skills were like my painting skills but I did appreciate his efforts!
And here are the "after" pictures:
|King West Village Toronto front garden cleanup after|
|Toronto King West Village front garden cleanup after|
The four empty rectangular beds (you see two above) will be filled in with the same Ajuga (!) groundcover to keep the uniform look.
The weeded Juniper beds are below. We'll need some mulch near the sidewalk as this area is the weediest.
|Toronto King West Village front garden clean up after|
|King West Village Toronto front garden clean up after|
In case you think I'm showing the same garden from different angles, oh my, you are cynical! The four units have the identical front gardens in shape, dimension and plants. The design is modern (in other words, no flowers) and, frankly, gas-blower friendly.
I asked one of the homeowners who originally contacted me why he didn't choose one of Toronto's myriad of "mow-blow-and go" landscapers (although there's no mowing here) and he replied that no one was interested in fighting traffic getting to this very busy part of Toronto with no parking nearby for such a "small" job. Which made complete sense, if I ran a "traditional" business based on mowing large tracts of turf many times a day.
But since I travel by public transit and the streetcar (we have them in Toronto) stop is a block away, it's a win-win for both me and my new client here.