November 12, 2018

Hasta la Vista, Hostas!

A Fall Cleanup in a Downtown Toronto Courtyard


If you grow hostas in Toronto (and who doesn't, it seems), you knew this day would come. Your clumps of slug bait prized perennials have finally collapsed and on their way to becoming a slimy mess. What to do? Cut them down now or deal with the mess next spring? A perennial question, indeed.

Hostas have their virtues, don't get me wrong: they are practically indestructible in most soils with decent drainage, there are hundreds of varieties in the market and are useful in garden designs as specimens or "filler". I like to consider hostas as "perennials with training wheels" for newbies as they are often found for sale in the same places you'd pick up a can of paint or drywall, forgiving of abuse and relatively inexpensive. I certainly bought more than a few when I first started planting in my current garden decades ago.

So it's no surprise that I see hostas in many of the gardens I work in and, at this time of the year, I've been dealing with them almost daily during my fall cleanup sessions for clients. This post will yet again show hostas "melting" into winter dormancy which kind of describes my physical condition at the end of another work season!

If you like hostas and yews, you're in for a treat (sarcasm inserted). This condo courtyard profiled in this post (and in another post titled "Weeding Raised Beds in a Central Toronto Courtyard: Getting Gritty in Downtown Toronto") has a dozen or so curvilinear raised beds full of hostas and yews. The look of overall garden is firmly stuck in the mid 1980s:




Toronto Garden District Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto Garden District Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Fall Cleanup Before



Garden District Courtyard Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Garden District Courtyard Toronto 
Fall Cleanup Before




Toronto Garden District Courtyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Courtyard Fall Cleanup Before 



Garden District Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Garden District Toronto 
Fall Cleanup Before 



Garden District Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Garden District Toronto 
Fall Cleanup Before 




Toronto Garden District Courtyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Garden District 
Courtyard Fall Cleanup Before 



Garden District Courtyard Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Garden District Courtyard 
Toronto Fall Cleanup Before 




It's a "mow-blow-go" landscape maintenance contractor's Nirvana (even better,  there's no grass therefore no "mow" so you can "go" even quicker.) The work would simply consist of coming in with a few worker bees and shearing these yew meatballs and UFOs with gas-powered clippers, blowing away debris from the paths and getting back to the truck to check their phones and scoot on to their next job. 

I was confused as to why the condo board would want to hire me to look after the courtyard area, given the monoculture of shorn evergreens and hostas, but apparently the board members wanted to update the plantings circa the late 1900s and are even considering removing some of the more contorted yews and replacing them with a greater variety of deciduous shrubs and perennials. And so they called me for this spring 2019 project.

But between now and warmer times in 5 months, a fall cleanup was booked and completed, as the pictures below show:



Toronto Garden District Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Fall Cleanup After



Toronto Garden District Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Fall Cleanup After



Garden District Courtyard Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Garden District Courtyard 
Toronto Fall Cleanup After 



Toronto Garden District Courtyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Garden District 
Courtyard Fall Cleanup After



Garden District Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Garden District Toronto 
Fall Cleanup After


Garden District Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
No, these are not yews surprisingly. 
A "grove" of Fiveleaf Aralia (Eleutherococcus 
( syn. Acanthopanax) sieboldianus).


Toronto Garden District Courtyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Garden District 
Courtyard Fall Cleanup After 



Garden District Courtyard Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Garden District Courtyard 
Toronto Fall Cleanup After 




On a positive and hopeful note, someone did plant this small clump of "Goldsturm" coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’) below. I left it alone for the winter, an "oasis" for hungry overwintering birds within the barren yew-dominated courtyard.



Garden District Courtyard Fall Rudbeckia Black Eye Susans by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Garden District Courtyard Fall 
Rudbeckia (Black Eye Susans) 

November 09, 2018

A Fall Garden Cleanup in Leslieville

Getting Ready For the Winter


As November quickly rolls on, the fall cleanups just keep coming for me. The crisp and dry weather I enjoyed in early October seems a distant memory as November's rain and near freezing temperatures are making it a tough go for me working outside. 


Just another few weeks, I keep telling myself, before my annual sabbatical!

This post brings us back to Leslieville, an east-end Toronto neighbourhood I'm very familiar with as I grew up and now work often in it.

I worked for John, the client here, this past summer and profiled my efforts in a recent post titled "Ummm, We Know A Gardener Who Can Help...: A Leslieville Summer Garden Cleanup That Keeps the Neighbours Happy"   A few months later, John called me back to tidy up his backyard before winter really arrives. 

This fall cleanup involved more weeding than the usual leaf raking and pruning perennials. I asked him to buy some mulch a few months ago but this didn't happen; consequently, weeds emerged quickly again for me to tackle.



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




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



Leslieville Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
A clump of yellowing Solomon's Seal (left) 
and hostas (right) to cut down and 
a persistent Tree of Heaven sucker to 
excavate in the upper right corner. 
And yes, lots of weeds between the flagstone... 



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



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



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




Leslieville Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
The mellow-yellow hosta fall 
foliage colour is actually nice!  



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




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



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



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



Leslieville Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
This bed will have "Annabelle" Smooth 
Hydrangeas and "Patriot" hostas 
massed planted next spring. 



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



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



October 31, 2018

A Don Mills, Toronto Garden Fall Cleanup

Saying Goodbye to the Veggie Patch for the Season


It's Hallowe'en today but nothing spooky about this post. I'm wrapping up my work season with a bunch of fall cleanups booked for all of November and the only scary part is trying to rake leaves in the snow!

Mary Anne, my client here, has this backyard located in the Don Mills area of Toronto. I usually drop by in the spring, mid-summer and late October to tend to things. The garden isn't too large or complicated and typical for the size I work in. At this time of the year, I'm removing "annuals" (plants which will not survive outside during the winter for us in zone 5 Toronto) from containers and emptying the pots of container soil, cutting down perennials (most but not all if the client prefers), and raking leaves out of and removing weeds and non-hardy plants from garden beds. 

And these tasks were exactly what I accomplished here in this post so no surprises.



Don Mills Toronto Fall Cleanup Backyard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Looking up the main garden bed,
this end is the vegetable patch.
Several tomato and pepper plants
were yanked out and the small
rhubarb was cut back.

Don Mills Toronto Fall Cleanup Backyard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Don Mills Toronto Fall Cleanup Backyard After 


Fall Cleanup Before in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
The veggie patch from the side with
some non-hardy zinnias hanging in
on the left side.

Fall Cleanup After in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Fall Cleanup After in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard 


Don Mills Fall Cleanup Backyard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
This end of the bed has a few hostas,
phlox and irises which were cut down as well.

Don Mills Fall Cleanup Backyard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Don Mills Fall Cleanup Backyard After


Toronto Fall Cleanup Before Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
This semi-circular bed has a "P.G." Hydrangea
standard "ringed" with run of the mill green hostas.

Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard


Toronto Fall Cleanup Before Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
More hostas to deal with, as they
are entering into dormancy.
 
Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard



Fall Cleanup Before in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Mellow yellow fall foliage of balloon
flowers (
Platycodon grandiflorus).

Fall Cleanup After in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Fall Cleanup After in a Don Mills Toronto Backyard 


Toronto Fall Cleanup Before Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
I usually ask clients not to cut down
ornamental grasses like this mass
planting of Feather Reed Grass
(Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’)
in the autumn because of their excellent
winter interest but this narrow rectangular
section is immediately below the main
rear windows and not easily seen so...
 
Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Fall Cleanup After Don Mills Backyard


Don Mills Toronto Fall Cleanup Backyard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
And the other end...

Don Mills Toronto Fall Cleanup Backyard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Pruning ornamental grasses around
live wires is always interesting!


October 26, 2018

A Fall Cleanup at Yonge and Lawrence

Tidying a Midtown Toronto Back and Front Yard For the Winter


And...we're off! The final month or so of my work season comprises of fall cleanups throughout central Toronto. The pruning, raking and weeding performed during my autumn visit to my client Lisa's front and backyard will be, more or less, repeated at many other gardens for the next 5 weeks or so. 

The work is mundane but at least you'll enjoy some beautiful fall colours coming up!

In the Backyard:


Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Backyard before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Backyard before 


Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Backyard after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Backyard after 

Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Backyard before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Backyard before 




Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Backyard after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Backyard after 


Yonge and Lawrence Backyard Toronto Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Backyard
Toronto Fall Cleanup before 




Yonge and Lawrence Backyard Toronto Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Backyard
Toronto Fall Cleanup after 

Yonge and Lawrence Backyard Toronto Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Backyard
Toronto Fall Cleanup before 



Yonge and Lawrence Backyard Toronto Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Backyard
Toronto Fall Cleanup after 

Yonge and Lawrence Backyard Toronto Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Backyard
Toronto Fall Cleanup after 



Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Backyard after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Backyard after 


And in the Front Yard:



Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Front Yard before 



Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Fall Cleanup Yonge and
Lawrence Front Yard after 

Toronto Fall Cleanup in a Lawrence and Yonge Front Yard before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Toronto Fall Cleanup in a Lawrence
and Yonge Front Yard before 


Toronto Fall Cleanup in a Lawrence and Yonge Front Yard after by Paul Jung Gardening Services
The "soft" perennials like hostas 
and daylilies were cut down


Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard Toronto Fall Cleanup before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard
Toronto Fall Cleanup before 



Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard Toronto Fall Cleanup after by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Yonge and Lawrence Front Yard
Toronto Fall Cleanup after 

Toronto Fall Cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Lawrence and Yonge Front Yard before
These two clumps of herbaceous 
peonies still don't look too bad 
for this time of the year 
but down they come.



Toronto Fall Cleanup by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Lawrence and Yonge Front Yard after
Toronto Fall Cleanup--a Lawrence
and Yonge Front Yard after


Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Organic Gardener Fall Cleanup Front Yard in Lawrence and Yonge Before
 Fall Cleanup Front Yard in
Lawrence and Yonge Before




Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Organic Gardener Fall Cleanup Front Yard in Lawrence and Yonge After
This clump of feral daylily (Hemerocallis fulva
was trimmed. The Forsythia to the left 
and Smooth Hydrangea to the right 
are providing some fall colour.


Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto Fall Cleanup Front Yard in Lawrence and Yonge Before
I'd normally leave seed-bearing perennials 
like the purple coneflower above alone 
for the winter to provide some winter interest and 
food for birds but the client wasn't interested so...



Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto Fall Cleanup Front Yard in Lawrence and Yonge After
we get to enjoy seeing the little red 
toadstool for the next 5 months.