June 27, 2018

Midtown Toronto Summer Front and Backyard Cleanup

When Mulching Doesn't Preclude Actual Weeding


I was half-expecting being contacted by Alex, the client in this post, to weed his rental property's front garden this spring. And why wouldn't I? I installed his new garden last May as profiled in my blog post mundanely titled "Mid Toronto new front garden installation: Another Toronto Front Garden Makeover" and have seen how the new transplanted perennials have coped with wave after wave of weeds germinating and thriving in the garden bed over the past year.

I last visited this garden in October 2017 for a fall cleanup so for the past eight months, nothing has been done in terms of weeding, watering and other garden maintenance tasks. (As a reminder, the tenants in this rental property naturally don't get involved and the owner lives off-site.) Last autumn, I asked Alex to provide me with more mulch as the existing layer was very thin and patchy; consequently, weeds would easily gain a foothold (roothold?) again. He didn't drop any mulch off so the garden has been like a lab experiment: it will have shown what weeds have germinated, their growth rate and how the new perennials have responded to such competition for sunlight, water and nutrients. 

Alex did contact me after all and we scheduled an appointment. When I finally arrived several days ago, I wondered what the state of garden was and then saw this...


Midtown Toronto  Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Toronto 
Front Garden Cleanup Before



Midtown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Toronto Summer
Front Garden Cleanup Before



Toronto Midtown Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Summer
Front Garden Cleanup Before



Toronto Midtown Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Front
Garden Cleanup Before



Avenue Road Midtown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Avenue Road Midtown Toronto
Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before



Midtown Avenue Road Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Avenue Road Summer
Front Garden Cleanup Before



By Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company, A Toronto Midtown Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before
A Toronto Midtown Summer
Front Garden Cleanup Before



Quite a weed patch, no? To be perfectly honest, I wasn't shocked. I knew the conditions were very good for weeds to flourish here. The garden is in a very exposed and windy site so weed seeds travel very easily here. There is a layer of mulch but it is quite thin (only about one inch in depth) as it has decomposed slowly over time. The garden, also receives full sun from the morning right until late afternoon. And, lastly, two downspouts drain into the garden so there's plenty of moisture accumulating after every shower or thunderstorm.

Still, I was surprised to see how well the weeds have grown in relation to the perennials planted last year.

I started to pull out the weeds, roots and all, and quickly entered my zen-like "weeding state of flow." Seriously, I just think about what's for dinner, the clients I have to see the next day, and my achy knees.

 Here are some weed "all-stars" I yanked out which made the list:
  • Perennial Sow-thistle (Sonchus arvensis)
  • Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)
  • Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Common Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
  • Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus)


and more than few run of the mill dandelions and broad-leaved plantains.


More than a few hours later...




Midtown Toronto Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Toronto Front
Garden Cleanup After 



Midtown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Toronto Summer Front
Garden Cleanup After 



Toronto Midtown Summer Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Summer Front
Garden Cleanup After 



Toronto Midtown Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Front
Garden Cleanup After 



Avenue Road Midtown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Avenue Road Midtown Toronto
Summer Front Garden Cleanup After 


Midtown Avenue Road Summer Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Midtown Avenue Road Summer
Front Garden Cleanup After 


By Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company, A Toronto Midtown Summer Front Garden Cleanup After
 A Toronto Midtown Summer
Front Garden Cleanup After



After cleaning out the bed, I spread a good 3" layer of cedar mulch over as much of the bare and exposed soil as possible and away from the crowns of the perennials. While the mulch will greatly reduce the quantity of weeds germinating, it won't automatically result in a "no-maintenance" garden, at least in this location.

I evaluated the growth progress of the perennials I planted last May and the results were mixed. One Fountain Grass (Pennisetum) died surprisingly, the Tickseed (Coreopsis) didn't grow a lot, maybe due to being smothered by weeds, the Echinacea, Little Blue Stem grasses and butterfly weed (Asclepias) grew very well while the Blazing Star (Liatris) was so-so. 

The adage that perennials "sleep, creep and leap" in the first, second and third years after transplanting seems to be true! Or it's just a random thing. 


I still like how it rhymes though.


Bonus cleanup in the backyard


The tenants at this property also have the ability to use the backyard patio to rest, relax and have a few drinks and nibbles. 



Toronto Midtown Summer Backyard Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Summer
Backyard Garden Cleanup Before 


But apparently the invitation was never accepted. I wonder why? Hmmmm...



Toronto Midtown Summer Backyard Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Midtown Summer
Backyard Garden Cleanup After 


I tried to make it a little more cozy back here by weeding in between the pavers, cutting back the wild grape, weed tree saplings and rambunctious Euonymus (winter creeper) and just sweeping up. Now the space doesn't look like raccoons have been squatting there.

No comments:

Post a Comment