February 16, 2020

A New Pollinator-Friendly Garden in Toronto's Garden District, Part Two

Let's Amp up the Insect Activity and Seasonal Interest, Shall We?


Another two months (hopefully) and I'll start my work season again. Perhaps I'll even execute this small project below which is the topic of this post. 

We're continuing from the last post and looking at three raised beds located in a condo courtyard somewhere in downtown Toronto. Here are bed number two's "before" picture and my proposal to makeover the small area to attract insects and birds while providing multi-seasonal visual interest for the condo owners who share the common paths and garden beds. 


A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before 

The bed above contains many run-of-the-mill hostas so besides the one week in May the existing serviceberry (Amelanchier) shrub (small tree) blooms, there's very little nectar to attract bees and butterflies on a consistent basis from May to October. (It is true, though, that the serviceberry provides highly desirable berries in the summer. It's the best thing going on in this bed!)

Other things to note, if you're keeping notes, is that the bed faces west, receives full sun until late afternoon and is irrigated automatically. Zero manual maintenance occurs, besides the custodian occasionally shearing the evergreen yew macaron.

Here's my quick drawing below suggesting native species of perennials (besides the Coreopsis cultivar) which provide food energy for wildlife, look attractive to our eyes and require relatively fewer maintenance dollars (this last point is always important to a condo board.)

Here's the list of perennials:



A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After

I realize that not all the perennials will bloom at the same time as the drawing suggests but this is only a quick mock up for illustration purposes and to make it easier for these clients to visualize what the bed could look like, more or less, at any time during the growing season.

And, yes, that yew would be removed!


January 28, 2020

A New Pollinator-Friendly Raised Bed Garden in Toronto, Part One

We Won't Be Missing Yew(s)


It's almost half way through my winter hiatus or hibernation and while "spring thoughts" shouldn't be in our minds yet, I am being inspired by some gardening books I'm reading now. I haven't posted anything in over a month and wonder why you, dear reader, even stick around this ghost town of a blog. But someone is reading so...onwards and upwards in 2020! 

Combing through my 2019 pictures, I realized I never wrote about a few design proposals for a courtyard complex I "maintain" (well, visit in the spring and fall only). I've posted some "before" and "after" pictures of the cleanups I've done for this condo board before. For example, here's a post titled Weeding Raised Beds in a Central Toronto Courtyard: Getting Gritty in Downtown Toronto that shows the beds before and after I work my magic!

There are about a dozen raised beds inside the private courtyard of various sizes and shapes. They all have yews (Taxus sp.), pruned into balls, ovals, alien spacecraft, etc. and most have hostas, that overused workhorse among perennials. That's more or less it. Lots of green.

Automatic irrigation is in place but no one looks after the plants' maintenance (i.e., no weeding or pruning occurs in the summer).

Some of the condo board members expressed an interest to modernize some of the beds as the feeling in the courtyard is definitely circa 1983. They asked me to come up with three drawings for three small beds as a start. In this post (and two future ones), I'll show the existing bed and my rendered sketch showing new perennial possibilities.

Here's "Bed A", for lack of a more scintillating description:


A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design Before 

It faces west but will be shaded by early afternoon due to a large tree located nearby. For this and the other raised beds,the clients wanted more plants that offer seasonal interest and encourage more wildlife (pollinators and birds especially) to visit.


My proposal...



A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After by Paul Jung Gardening Services--a Toronto Organic Gardening Company
A New Toronto Pollinator Garden Design After 

The yews, I suggest, would be removed but the existing native serviceberry kept. Four types of shade tolerant native species would fill in the small bed:



What do you think of my plant selection?