September 28, 2019

A Roncesvalles/High Park Fall Cleanup

Let the Fall Cleanups Begin...


October is around the corner which means, dear reader, you'll be subjected to more posts about fall cleanups. I realize showing you pictures of weeds, leaves and garbage around my clients' properties isn't too interesting but at least you'll see the types of gardens I work in around the city ranging from the the good, bad and ugly.

The label "fall cleanup" is used by many landscape companies at this time of the year to describe "raking" up leaves (almost always with a leaf blower, if this makes sense), cutting down soon-to-be-dormant perennials and wrapping up evergreens in burlap shrouds. In other words, a completely unnecessary exercise. 

Yes, I realize I earn a good chunk of my income performing these types of exercises and don't intend to be hypocritical. But more often than not, I suggest to new clients that fall cleanups (and, worse, the term "winterizing") are not "required" and in more naturalistic gardens, even to be avoided.

All this to tell you that this post isn't covering a typical fall cleanup but about a cleanup that just happened to occur in autumn. I'll explain below....



High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before 


I met the client, Doug, through a referral (thanks Nicole!) and his situation is common with many of my other clients: he travels a lot and has no time or interest in maintaining his gardens. When I get requests from new clients this time of the year though, it usually means that no weeding or pruning has been performed all season and, yet again, this was the case here.


High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After


Over the course of a good six hours (and a little more), I tackled the front and back gardens of Doug's property in his Toronto's west end neighbourhood near High Park/Roncesvalles. Not many leaves were raked up (yes, I actually use a rake) since the huge Eastern Black Walnut (Juglans nigratree in the back isn't showing its beautiful yellow foliage yet but, more alarming, the heavy fruit were dropping periodically around me! I collected these green-husked fruits and tossed them out along with the other debris.



High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before 


High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After 


High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before


High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
High Park Toronto Back Yard Fall Cleanup After 


Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before


Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup After 

In weeding and tidying up the two front raised beds, I left most of the blooming asters alone as bees and other pollinators were feeding. These asters self-seeded themselves and while I do consider them "weedy", I didn't remove them since they're beneficial now.



Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before


Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Roncesvalles Toronto Front Yard Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before 


Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup Before


Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto High Park Back Yard Fall Cleanup After 



Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before


Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup Before


Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Roncesvalles Front Yard Fall Cleanup After 



After tidying up things, Doug should be good to go for another year!




September 07, 2019

Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown

Labouring on Labour Day


Like a flick of switch, temperatures last week dropped. Fall is definitely in the air and while leaves haven't begun to change colour, it definitely doesn't feel like summer any more. I can't complain too much as conditions working outside are so much better for me: very little humidity and lower temperatures mean I can weed and prune without gulping water every few minutes or having the fear of passing out due to heat exhaustion.

September is also a great time to plant new perennials, shrubs and trees but it's uncommon for me to put in new gardens now as most homeowners don't associate autumn with new plants. The weeding, however, still continues, as this post will show.



Koreatown Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Garden Cleanup Before


The client, Cynthia, contacted me to deal with her front garden (located in central Toronto's Koreatown neighbourhood) which is on a slope as shown above. (The picture was taken across the street, to give you a sense of perspective and scale.)  It's a little, ahem, "overgrown"! I can only conclude than no weeding occurred at all in 2019 and who knows prior. I think you can make out the boxwood balls in the forefront but most of the rest of the vegetation are weeds.


Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Front Garden Cleanup Before 

Here are some views from the upper tier, looking down towards the street. While the slope wasn't too severe, working while standing on an angle is never easy on the ankles, legs and back. To be honest, I did most of the weeding sitting (and sliding) down.


Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Front Yard Cleanup Before


Koreatown Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Garden Cleanup Before 


Toronto Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Front Yard
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


This picture shows the path (somewhere hidden) connecting the neighbours, which the mail delivery person must use all down this street.


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before 


These next two pictures were taken from the sidewalk, looking up the slope. The Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) saplings, Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis),  Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriolaand Goosefoot (Chenopodium album) are all doing well!



Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before



And afterwards....



I kept about half of goldenrod that's flowering now for pollinators but dug out everything else. Those poor hostas below the goldenrods were smothered previously. I can almost hear them now sigh in relief!



Koreatown Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Garden Cleanup After 



I'm guessing the change in elevation from the upper tier to the top of bottom retaining wall is about 15 feet. Erosion control will have to be considered. Laying down mulch, while suppressing weeds, will likely result in having it run down after heavy rains and snow melt. Mass planting of a groundcover like periwinkle (Vinca minor) could work to reduce erosion but it will take time before a thick mat takes hold.



Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Front Garden Cleanup After 


Koreatown Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
 Front Yard Cleanup After 



Koreatown Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Koreatown Toronto Summer
Garden Cleanup After 


I'd certainly mulch the level upper tier area at the base of the tree. The grass is also failing as it's in shade for most of the day and never fertilized. I also suggested that it be dug out and the entire upper tier be mulched.



Toronto Front Garden Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown After 


Toronto Summer Front Yard Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Front Yard
Cleanup in Koreatown After


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown After 


Toronto Summer Garden Cleanup in Koreatown Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Summer Garden
Cleanup in Koreatown Before


Onwards and upwards to the fall cleanups, dear reader!