April 10, 2018

A Spring Garden Cleanup in Mount Pleasant East-Davisville

In Preparation for a New Toronto Ecological Garden


Installation of pollinator-friendly gardens seems to be increasing in popularity these days and I think it's a good thing. If this means planting fewer mophead hydrangeas, boxwoods, euonymus, ad nauseum, I'm all for it. From a maintenance experience, I much prefer pottering around a garden that's alive with wildlife above and below ground.

So it was with great interest that I met a new client, Amy, who wished to plant new native perennials and shrubs in her front and back gardens. But first, she hired me for the notorious "spring cleanup" which mostly consisted of removing last autumn's leaves and pruning away dead stalks.


The small front bed is dominated, literally, by a huge Norway Maple (Acer platanoides Anyone unfortunate who tries to garden under such a tree knows the "challenges" of having anything thrive in very dry and heavy shade.


Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before 


Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup After 

Raking away the leaves reveals how bare the area is. A thick groundcover which can tolerate the maple's shallow roots and heavy shade would be useful to reduce weeds from getting established, reduce the erosion (the bed is sloping towards the street) and improve the overall appearance.

Or do what Amy's neighbour did: dump a truckload of black-dyed mulch and call it day. Nah, we can do better!


Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before 


Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup After 



The picture above wonderfully shows how shallow the Norway Maple's surface roots really are.


Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before

Although you see shadows in the above picture, by June when the leaves fill the canopy, this area will be in heavy shade.




Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup After
 Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup After


Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup Before 


Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Front Garden Cleanup After 


And in the backyard....



Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before 

The lot is quite narrow but very long for a city property. The area along the right fence receives full sun for most of the day as it faces south. That huge tree that growing apparently right on the property line is a Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum). Fortunately, its canopy is so high up that we get partial shade or better for most of the day.
 


Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After 

I know, the brick edgers kind of end abruptly. Maybe the client can pick up a few more to complete the curve.

I suggested placing three red-osier dogwoods (Cornus sericea) and three serviceberries (Amelanchier canadensis) in this bulge of a space. It's a pinch point so the large native shrubs could act as a screen, "concealing and revealing" the back half of the garden. Of course, something has to be done with the wonky garage as it's hardly a reward for travelling back. Actually, it's a focal point, but for all the wrong reasons!


Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before 



Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After 

This shadier bed above will be filled with Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and run of the mill variegated hostas "recycled" from other parts of the property. I suggested we add lots of shade-tolerant sedges  (Carex spp.) to give us foliage contrast in terms of leaf texture. The colour scheme will be simply white and green in keeping things relaxed and a little boring. But boring is a good thing in this situation!


Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Garden Cleanup Backyard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Garden Cleanup Backyard Before 



Mount Pleasant East Davisville Spring Garden Cleanup Backyard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Mount Pleasant East Davisville 
Spring Garden Cleanup Backyard After 

A rain garden could be created where the downspouts empties. Cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis), anybody?



Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Davisville Mount Pleasant East Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup 
Davisville Mount Pleasant East Before 



Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Davisville Mount Pleasant East After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup 
Davisville Mount Pleasant East After

A lot of possibilities along the south facing area above but I must thin out the rambunctious Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) and tawny daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) before they spread everywhere.


Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Mount Pleasant East Davisville Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup 
Mount Pleasant East Davisville Before 


Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Mount Pleasant East Davisville After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup 
Mount Pleasant East Davisville After 

I suggested to Amy that we should remove the lumber should be removed and plant groups of coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and start her ecological garden this year!

And not one boxwood will be planted here, thank goodness!


Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup Before 



Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services
 Davisville Mount Pleasant East 
Spring Backyard Garden Cleanup After

I feel that forsythia, planted way too close to the deck and fence, needs to be shovel pruned!



Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto Gardening Company Davisville Mount Pleasant East Spring Crocuses



It was a cold day in the garden during the cleanup but at least some clumps of crocuses, like the one above, were happy to see me.


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