May 22, 2019

A Riverdale Backyard New Garden Installation

Bye Bye Boxwood!


From initial meeting to cleanup to garden bed preparation to transplanting...for me, garden-making is relatively straightforward. After doing this for 15 years, I have a good idea of what plants "work" based on the site realities, client preferences and, not unimportantly, budget constraints.  I thought there would be few, if any, obstacles from start to finish with this Riverdale, Toronto garden renovation. Easy peasy, as it were. 

I assumed that the soil in the rectangular garden bed would be easy to dig into, making transplanting not painful and maybe even fun. It wasn't meant to be, of course. I started to dig a few preliminary holes and sure enough, I was hitting lots of surface roots from a spruce tree nearby. There was also a decent patch of lily of the valley to contend with.

So much for easy peasy...

I've profiled this backyard in an earlier post titled "A Riverdale Spring Cleanup in Preparation for New Plantings: An Old Boxwood Facing Its Final Days... " which showed some "before" and "after" pictures from the spring cleanup occurring in April 2019. 

After said cleanup, I provided the client with a list of plants to buy for the garden makeover. She politely arranged delivery and things were set.

Finally, I could put this old and unpruned boxwood out of its misery:



Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 
What does a boxwood look like if it's ignored for many years? As the picture above shows, not very nice. This broadleaf evergreen hardly qualifies as a specimen unless it's clipped into a topiary (and regularly clipped). But this is what draws your eyes when looking down the path to the parking area and from the deck: a diseased and, well, ugly boxwood. A perfect focal point in the garden, for all the wrong reasons.




Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 

The above view towards the deck and back of the house isn't much more inspiring. A half-alive euonymus/winter creeper and a shrub next to the deck is about it for visual interest.





Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before

There's also this small bed on the other side of the stairs. In part/full shade for most of the day, the peony on the right side will never thrive so out it comes.




Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover Before 

Here's the view from the top of the stairs and the deck looking down. Sorry that it's a bit out of focus but you see the general picture.



And afterwards...





Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 
Above is the view looking down the back half of the bed towards the gate and parking area. I replaced the decrepit boxwood with a fresh Serviceberry, placed a row of dogwood shrubs along the horizontal fence and planted an assortment of shade tolerant perennials like ferns, hostas and Japanese Forest Grass.



Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After 
This small serviceberry should get to 15-20 feet tall if all things go well.




Riverdale New Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Riverdale New Backyard Garden Makeover After 
When the homeowners open the gate after parking the car, they'll see a mass of perennials and shrubs as they walk into the house. New transplants always look puny and underwhelming so let's be charitable and give them a few years to get established and really fill in.


Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Garden Makeover After
Looking down about 6 feet from the deck railing. I misjudged the number of Hakone grasses as we're about two short in order to fully form a border next to the interlocking brick path. 

The grasses can be planted anytime, easy peasy.

May 14, 2019

A Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup

Cutting Down a Few Ornamental Grasses in Spring



The weather so far this May has been mediocre with lower than average temperatures and plenty of rain. I'd say right now we're about two weeks behind a "normal" Toronto spring when it comes to bloom times. Usually the forsythias are finished blooming by now but I see many still with lots of yellow flowers.

But come rain or shine, I'm receiving many requests for spring cleanups. This post bring us back to the downtown Toronto neighbourhood of Cabbagetown for another client visit.

The front yard is very small, typical for this area. I left the ornamental grasses (Miscanthus sp.)  alone last fall when I did the fall cleanup so now have to deal with them. All they require is to have the old stalks cut down to about 6 inches from the ground. Miscanthus (maiden grass) is a warm season grass so new shoots will emerge by late May (if it ever warms up!)

The greener sedges at the brick edging (likely Gold Fountains Sedge or Carex dolichostachya 'Kaga Nishiki') just need a bit of the trim to cut away the brown tips. New bight green leaves are already emerging with this beautiful sedge.




Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard Before


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard After 


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard Before 


Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden Cleanup Front Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Spring Garden
Cleanup Front Yard After


And in the backyard...


The bulk of the work was done last fall when I raked and swept up most of Paper Birch leaves from the garden bed and patio. As in the front, the yellow ornamental grasses (Japanese Forest Grass now emerging) were left alone last autumn. They just need some tidying up as well by pulling away the old leaves.

Typical for Cabbagetown's small lots, there is no lawn or turf grown. On the maintenance scale, this garden is around a 2, which suits the busy homeowners fine.



Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard Before


Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard After


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard  Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard  Before 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Garden
Cleanup Back Yard After 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup Back Yard  Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring
Cleanup Back Yard  Before 


Toronto Cabbagetown Spring Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Spring
Cleanup Back Yard After 

April 25, 2019

A Riverdale Spring Cleanup in Preparation for New Plantings

An Old Boxwood Facing Its Final Days...



The spring cleanups are in full force and several homeowners are hiring me to prepare the garden areas with the aim of designing with and transplanting new perennials and shrubs. But to get to the "finished" garden, a little tidying up is needed for me to even see the blank canvas we're working with.

This Riverdale, Toronto back garden is very small (and may be one of the smallest I've dealt with) and peculiar. Although the pictures immediately below don't suggest it, the garden will be in shade once the neighbouring maple trees leaf out in a month or so. There's also a very tall spruce tree in the garden that blocks out most of the southern exposure. 

I describe the light conditions "peculiar" because the raised deck between the garden and house is in full sun for most of the day. I can only imagine how hot things get during the middle of the day up there while only a few feet away below the stairs, the garden will be in part to full shade.

From a functional perspective, the garden simply connects the house (via the deck) to the parking area. There's a great place to put a bench but my feeling is that the homeowners simply want to get to and from the house and their car quickly with something half decent to look at.

Currently, two forlorn Euonymus and one ancient, unpruned and decrepit boxwood greet the homeowners to and from work. They'll have to go but first, let's tidy up things!


Riverdale Spring Cleanup Backyard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Backyard Before 



Riverdale Spring Cleanup Backyard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Backyard After 



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Yes, that's a boxwood in the picture 
above on the left side. 
Not what I call an ideal focal point. 



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup After



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup Before



Toronto Riverdale Backyard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Under the spruce, only some 
Lily of the Valley manage 
to eke out an existence. 


Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Ideally, a bench or a small lounge chair 
could be placed to the right in 
the above picture. You can see how 
shady this lower garden is at 
noon while the deck above is in 
full sun all morning and most of the afternoon.



Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Back Yard After 


And in the Front Yard...



Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before 



Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After




Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Yard Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Yard Before




Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Yard After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Yard After




Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before 




Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Toronto Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After 



Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed Before 




Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Riverdale Spring Cleanup Front Raised Bed After 


I'm finalizing the new plant choices with the homeowner so stay tuned for an update about the new garden! 

April 18, 2019

A Bloor West Village/Runnymede Toronto Spring Cleanup

It's Spring, We're Putting Our Bloor West Village/Runnymede House on the Market, But We Have to Do Something About These Leaves! (Part One)


Every April I receive a few calls from anxious homeowners who are ready to list their houses for sale but realize the gardens need a little (actually a lot of) "TLC" in order to prevent prospective buyers from thinking "if the yards look so messy, I wonder how are things inside..."

Which brings us to this post: another spring cleanup which emphasized "cleanup" literally more than the finer horticultural practices of pruning and weeding.

This Bloor West Village/Runnymede property is larger than normal for me to tackle as a "team of one" but the majority of work consisted of raking all of last autumn's leaves and picking up garbage from the garden beds and patio areas. I'll focus here on the front garden facing the street and leave the backyard for another post. 





Bloor West Village Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Bloor West Village Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup Before 



Bloor West Village Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bloor West Village Toronto Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup Before



Runnymede Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Runnymede Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before



Bloor West Village Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bloor West Village Toronto Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup Before 

The picture above gives a better idea of the thick mat of oak leaves covering the entire front yard, with another layer of maple leaves underneath.



Runnymede Front Yard Toronto Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Runnymede Front Yard Toronto 
Spring Cleanup Before



Runnymede Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Runnymede Toronto Front Yard 
Spring Cleanup Before 



Runnymede Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Runnymede Toronto Front Yard 
Spring Cleanup Before
Above is the view from the front porch looking down at the front garden.


And afterwards....



Bloor West Village Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Bloor West Village Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup After 



Bloor West Village Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bloor West Village Toronto Front
Yard Spring Cleanup Before 



Runnymede Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Runnymede Front Yard 
Spring Cleanup After 



Bloor West Village Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bloor West Village Toronto Front
 Yard Spring Cleanup After 



Runnymede Front Yard Toronto Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Runnymede Front Yard 
Toronto Spring Cleanup After 




Runnymede Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Runnymede Toronto Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup After 



Runnymede Toronto Front Yard Spring Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Runnymede Toronto Front 
Yard Spring Cleanup After


Under the blue tarp on the right side of the picture above, there are many bags of black (dyed) wood mulch ready to be spread over the entire front yard. It's a very quick, easy and relatively inexpensive way to increase the house's "curb appeal", especially after I did all the heavy lifting, literally!