May 12, 2018

A Birch Cliff, Scarborough Spring Garden Cleanup

In Praise of Ornamental Grasses


I cleaned up this same garden last autumn in a "judicious" manner so it only makes sense the spring cleanup can be described as the same. You don't have cut down all your perennials in autumn in an orgy of cleanliness but I do believe you should be a little more proactive in the spring. The old stems and leaves have done their job by giving us "winter interest" for 5 plus months here Toronto (!) so now is the time (well, April is a better time as most plants are still dormant) to freshen things up with your pruners, loppers, saws, etc.

Coming out of winter, the front yard doesn't look too worse for wear:



Scarborough Birch Cliff Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Scarborough Birch Cliff Front Yard 
Spring Garden Cleanup Before 



Birch Cliff Scarborough Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Scarborough Front Yard 
Spring Garden Cleanup Before 



Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Front 
Yard Spring Garden Cleanup Before 


And the after pictures..



Scarborough Birch Cliff Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Scarborough Birch Cliff Front
Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After 


Birch Cliff Scarborough Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Scarborough Front
Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After 


Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Front Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Front
Yard Spring Garden Cleanup After 


Simple tasks included cutting last year's growth from the ornamental grasses and "Autumn Joy" sedum and clipping lightly the dead lavender tips.

A spring cleanup is also a good time to take stock of what plants died over winter and, more excitingly, what plants to add! One of the lavender died so out it goes and I suggested to Sophia, the client, to add more Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata) to create a border next to the sidewalk. And we're going to move two of the boxwoods which seem lonely and isolated from their brothers and sisters.

The backyard's big task was to clip down the several mature Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis "Gracillimus" and Feather Reed grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora "Karl Foerster").


Scarborough Birch Cliff Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Scarborough Birch Cliff Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup Before 


Birch Cliff Scarborough Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Scarborough Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup Before


I see the above occasionally where a wisteria has nothing to climb on so it wraps around itself or somewhere on the fence. Proof that this vine requires a sturdy (preferably indestructible) pergola to attach itself to. Likely this monster was planted as a little bitty one gallon baby and look at it now!


Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup Before 

Good thing I bought new secateurs this season as pruning the old stalks takes sharp blades. I suppose a reciprocating saw with the appropriate blade would make quick work, especially if you have to cut down many at one time.


Scarborough Birch Cliff Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Scarborough Birch Cliff Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup After

Birch Cliff Scarborough Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Scarborough Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup After

Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Backyard Spring Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services a Toronto Gardening Company
Birch Cliff Toronto Scarborough Backyard
Spring Garden Cleanup After


What's appealing about ornamental grasses is their maintenance regimen: Plant them in full sun, give them room to expand and show their form, and cut them down every spring to about 6" above ground level. As about "low maintenance" as you can realistically get with a garden plant but people still buy hydrangeas around this time of the year by the tractor trailer loads.




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