December 06, 2019

Returning to Bedford Park for Another Fall Cleanup

When the Gardener is Away, the Goutweed will Spread


Winter is firmly entrenched here in Toronto as I write this blog entry. It's hard to believe that only up to a week ago I was working outside and finishing up my work season. Now's the time to "rest, read and recover"!

I have a few more fall cleanups to show you and that'll be it, I promise. Well, until next fall.

This entry goes over some work I performed in a front garden I visit maybe twice a year. The property is located in the Bedford Park neighbourhood of north-central Toronto. The garden faces north but receives full sun for most of the day. With the client's help, we've planted many lower-maintenance perennials over the past few years like purple coneflower, Oriental poppy, aster, and Japanese anemone.

There's quite a bit of variety in terms of plant material in the front. I "inherited" many common (over-used?) shrubs and perennials like holly, euonymus, daylilies and irises. Admittedly, they are hardy so I can't be too harsh in my criticism. However, I also inherited a very persistent clump (to be more accurate, clumps) of one of the worst perennial weeds I have to deal with: goutweed or ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria). I wouldn't say it's number one on my top ten list of "bad" weeds (I reserve that spot to Japanese knotweed) but it's been a challenge trying to control goutweed in this garden. (I've profiled my goutweed "eradication" attempts in a post titled "Me, the Goutweed Removal Machine!: Saving a Bedford Park, Toronto Front Garden Bed" for your amusement.)

I'll get back to goutweed travails a little later. First, here are the "before" and "after" pictures of the fall cleanup:



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


The garden area is rectangular and requires very little maintenance, aside from occasional watering during very hot and dry spells. Many of the neighbours have grass which, of course, involves regular mowing, watering, fertilizing, etc.

Typical for fall cleanups, I cut down dead or dying perennial foliage and stems and prune, as needed, the woody plants like the euonymus and Black Lace Elderberry for shape and control.

The biggest maintenance headache is trying to remove, once and for all, the plain mean and green goutweed without using a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate.


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


Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before



Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup After


You likely can't see them very well in the "after" pictures but there are many small clumps of goutweed just waiting to spread aggressively next spring when temperatures rise again. I did dig out most (obviously not all) of the goutweed in May 2019 but since no one has tended this garden since then, any small piece of goutweed rhizome left in the soil has grown unchecked.


Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before



Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Front Yard Cleanup After

Bedford Park Toronto Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Cleanup Before



Bedford Park Toronto Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Bedford Park Toronto Fall Cleanup After



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup Before 



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup After 


Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup After



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup Before


Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Front Yard Cleanup After 



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services Inc.--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Bedford Park Fall Cleanup After 

And in the backyard...



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



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


I'll contact the client again next April to schedule yet another "goutweed removal session"; otherwise, this front garden that holds lots of promise will be smothered again by the green menace!

December 04, 2019

A Very Late Fall Cleanup in Humewood--Oakwood Village



November's been a blur for me. One fall cleanup looks and feels like another. But posting "before" and "after" pictures gives you, dear reader, a better idea of what I do at the tail end of my work season.

I travel to an Toronto neighbourhood called "Oakwood Village" in this post to show yet another example of "getting a garden ready for winter" (as one of my clients calls it). I'm writing this post in December so I'm unofficially in the process of "getting a gardener (me) ready for winter"!

My clients' "lawn-less" backyard means much lower maintenance requirements (to be honest, I think they do nothing in terms of weeding, raking, etc.; hence, they hire me). No grass means no mowing, fertilizing, watering, etc. for this busy family.



Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After


Besides raking out the beds and cutting down soon-to-be dormant perennials like hostas and Siberian Bugloss, I pruned the P.G. hydrangea standard and Burning Bush (as shown above) by about a quarter to a third; otherwise, these shrubs will get very large and out-scale the small garden in a few years.



Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Oakwood Vaughan Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After



Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup After


I also like the geometric design: all the planting and patio areas are rectangles, except for the small area in front of the back shed which is laid with random natural flagstone as shown above. Since the lot is narrow yet long, it's an efficient way to maximize the use of the space.



Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


The small Rose of Sharon shrub shown above to the right, as usual, is loaded with seedpods which will release very viable seeds next spring. I prefer not to be pricking out the dozens of seedlings which will surely emerge in a few months so, as a preventative measure, I always prune away the pods.



Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Oakwood Vaughan Backyard Fall Cleanup After



York Humewood Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
York Humewood Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


If you have hydrangeas, every autumn you face the existential question of "shall I remove the brown spent flower (heads) or not?" And the answer, like so often in life, will be "it depends." It depends if you want to see the snow collect on them (brown balls become puffy white ones). It also depends if you don't want to tackle the job of pruning the balls off next spring and rather have things "tidy" for the next 4 months during a Toronto winter. For me with this hydrangea standard (i.e., "lollipop" form), I'm sure heavy snow and ice will just weigh down the thin branches and possibly split the shrub in a catastrophic manner. So, again as a preventative measure, I "lightened" the load and cut off the conical flowers ("panicles" if you prefer a more accurate description). Knowing the clients don't care about "winter interest" in the garden makes the decision very easy as well.



York Humewood Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
York Humewood Backyard Fall Cleanup After 


And in the front....



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

In the garden bed leading to the front door, the cleanup comprised of raking and blowing out the large amount of leaves. This narrow strip always "attracts" the leaves from both of the immediate neighbours' trees--the large linden tree to the left (north) and the large beech tree to the right (south). 



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

You may notice that while I did prune the two shrubs in the backyard, I didn't touch the large clump of Maiden Grass ornamental grass (Miscanthus spp.) next to the railing. Reducing the clump to mere stubs in late fall would be silly yet I see this occurring all over the city!



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

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

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



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

December 02, 2019

So Many Leaves, So Little Time Left: A Cabbagetown Fall Cleanup



There's always a sense of urgency for me every November since the weather can turn nasty quickly while my work calendar is usually booked with fall cleanups. It wasn't different last month from previous Novembers: a full month's worth of bookings disrupted by a mid-month snow blizzard! 

I had good luck though as temperatures rose back to seasonal (i.e., above freezing) which melted most of the snow. So for a week and a half, it was non stop work trying to catch up and close out the season.

After being postponed once, I was able to tidy up this backyard area for a client in Toronto's downtown "Cabbagetown" neighbourhood. 



Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before


Typical for properties in this neighbourhood, the backyard is quite small, often surrounded by mature trees and "lawn-less". In this specific backyard, the homeowners' two very large Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees shed their leaves and seeds every autumn so a nice thick mat of wet leaves greeted me!


Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After 


Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After 
I left the yellowing Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) clumps alone, as shown above. They give the client something to look at as they "catch the snow", not an unimportant point given winter here lasts at least 4 months!


Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After 



Cabbagetown Toronto  Fall Backyard Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto  Fall Backyard Cleanup Before



Cabbagetown Toronto  Fall Backyard Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Cabbagetown Toronto  Fall Backyard Cleanup After



Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 


Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Cabbagetown Toronto Backyard Fall Cleanup After



Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before



Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardener
Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After 



Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Services Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup Before 



Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
Toronto Cabbagetown Backyard Fall Cleanup After