October 22, 2019

A Front Garden Cleanup in East York

Small Front Yard, Large Potential


Having a house on a busy street can have its advantages but if the frontage isn't kept tidy...it may be known as "that house". You know, that house which the sanctimonious neighbours gossip about because, after all, if things are left to set to seed (literally) outside, it must be the same with the seedy owners inside.

Some homeowners do care about their local reputation while others don't give a flying fig and usually I'm contacted by the former who need to do something to re-establish some sort of baseline with their yards. This baseline doesn't necessarily mean new construction or new plants. I'm reminded of this "minimum standard" of a tidy front yard when a former client advised me during a garden cleanup that "we're not trying to re-create Versailles, we just want to show (the newly weeded and pruned garden) that someone gives a damn."  




East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before


I think the owner of this East York (an area in Toronto), similarly, just wants to show and prove to her neighbours and anyone walking or driving by her place set on a busy street that she does indeed give a damn about the front yard's appearance. 



East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before 


The front yard is very small (maybe 30 feet by 20 feet), composed of four small beds surrounded by turf and bisected by an interlocking brick paver path leading to the front door. It faces east and gets full sun until early afternoon. 





East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before in East York by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before in East York 


Pre-cleanup, the beds and paver path were full of weeds. One pumpkin plant had mildewed leaves and yielded one small pumpkin, which wasn't Hallowe'en worthy!




Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before in East York by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup Before in East York 



East York Toronto Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Cleanup Before 



Post-Cleanup:



East York Toronto Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Cleanup After 


The turf/grass is mediocre and weedy but the homeowner expressed an interest to remove all the grass and install random flagstone or some other type of hardscape. She's simply sick and tired of "mowing" the very small area of turf using a "weed whacker" (line trimmer). I can't blame her!




East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After 


East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After 


The garden beds next to the front porch hold a lot of promise. She could plant many full-sun pollinator-friendly perennials and introduce blocs of colour and texture. In other words, increase the house's "curb appeal" to the many onlookers who pass by for relatively low cost. 

Take it from me, there's minimal competition from her immediate neighbours for East York's "Front Garden of the Year" award, if such a thing exists, so it's a very low bar to cross over.


East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
East York Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Toronto East York Front Garden Fall Cleanup After


Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After in East York by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After in East York 


Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After in East York by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Front Garden Fall Cleanup After in East York



October 18, 2019

A Fall Cleanup in the Upper Beaches Neighbourhood

Tidying Up in Beach Hill


After a brief September lull, I'm in full "fall cleanup" mode until the end of November. It's true that I'm not dealing with summer's heat, humidity and bugs but the challenge now is to stay warm! 

This post brings us to the east-end Toronto area called "Upper Beaches" or "Beach Hill" and covers a fall cleanup for a property owned by an out-of-town landlord. Since tenants usually don't bother or worry about garden maintenance, I anticipated that the back and front gardens would be "weedy" and, of course, they were. Luckily, the area wasn't too large for me to handle.

Here are some "before" and "after" pictures of the backyard cleanup performed on this blustery and cold fall day:




Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup Before 


Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Garden Cleanup After


Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before


Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After 


Toronto Upper Beaches Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Upper Beaches Fall Cleanup Before 


Toronto Upper Beaches Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Upper Beaches Fall Cleanup After

Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before

Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After 


Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup Before 


Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup After 


And the front....



Toronto Beach Hill Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Cleanup Before 


Toronto Beach Hill Fall Cleanup After Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Cleanup After 


Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup Before 


Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Upper Beaches Toronto Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup Before 


Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Beach Hill Fall Garden Cleanup After 

The shrub with the red foliage in the front yard pictures above is a doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum "Mariesii'). While it does get quite wide (easily 15 feet), it has excellent fall colour and its horizontal branches are covered with white flowers in the spring. If you have the space in full sun, this type of viburnum can be useful.

The trio of "failing" shrubs with yellow fall foliage are Fiveleaf Aralias (Acanthopanax sieboldianus). They are usually very tough plants and can handle a wide range of conditions. I suspect that they are hating it under the huge maple tree!

October 01, 2019

Big Time Weeding in Little Italy

Or "There's A Front Yard in There, Somewhere!"


At the end of every work season, I reflect back on some of nicer gardens I've worked in and some of the, well, not so nice. You may know some yards or gardens of the latter variety on your street; heck, you may even own one. That's o.k., I'm not here to judge but some cleanup jobs for me are simply more onerous than others due to the garden's size and amount of weeds, debris, etc. Occasionally, I'll just advise the prospective client that the scope of work is beyond what I can do and to hire someone else. There may be an awkward pause but it's better for me to walk away from this kind of project than take it on, find I'm overwhelmed and do a less than perfect job.


This post covers a recent cleanup I didn't walk away from (although when I first saw  the garden, I was tempted to!)


The owners of this property in Toronto's trendy Little Italy area didn't do much maintenance for their front yard this season, it's safe to say. The somewhat rectangular area is about 20 feet wide by 60 feet long and, more or less, covered with clumps of mature goldenrod, Yellow Avens, sow thistle, aster, burdock and lemon balm (all perennial weeds). Whatever remaining grass is overgrown and patchy.

They hired me to "tidy up" things so here are some pictures showing how the front yard looked like before and after my efforts:



Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup Before


Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before


Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
The view from the sidewalk



Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before



Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before 


From the sidewalk, you may see the overgrown clumps of grass, sucker shoots from the base of the small maple tree, four mock orange shrubs and impressive stands of goldenrod and asters. What's not visible are several very-much-alive stumps of Siberian Elm (weed trees which were cut down in the past) and lots of thistles.


Little Italy Toronto Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Mockorange shrubs in the forefront, 
goldenrods and asters behind them 



Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before



Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Above is the view leading 
towards the front door



Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
And the view looking from the 
front door towards the street 
(Photo credit: picture taken by the clients) 


7 Hours Later....



How do you eat an elephant? Take one bite at a time, as the saying goes. In a severe clean up situation like this one, I start cutting down the stalks and leave the roots alone temporarily. Once all the vegetation above ground has been cut and carried away, I'll go in with my long handled shovel and start digging out entire root balls. All the mature weeds are perennials so just leaving them with their tops pruned looks nice but, of course, ineffective with dealing with them on a long term basis.

Fortunately, the weather was nice, dry and cool. Tackling this in the middle of July would not be fun!



Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After 


Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After



Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After 



Little Italy Toronto Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Little Italy Toronto Fall Front Garden Cleanup After 



Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After 


Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Little Italy Fall Front Garden Cleanup After


Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup After 



Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Services Company
Toronto Little Italy Front Garden Cleanup After