7.6.15

Garden cleanup and renovation in Toronto's "The Pocket" neighbourhood

Raised bed garden cleanup: weeds replaced with Carex "Ice Dance" sedges


"The Pocket" is a neighbourhood in east-end Toronto near Jones and Danforth Avenues. I did work for this client's mother in Cabbagetown and she asked me to help with the front raised bed and backyard bed. 

The Pocket garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket garden renovation before 


The front raised bed is about 4 feet wide by 20 feet long. It's made from 4" x 4" pressure-treated lumber and only about a foot high. The plants receive full sun for most of the morning until mid-afternoon. The client wanted to keep the existing ornamental pear and boxwood but everything else removed.

What was "everything else?" Here are the culprits:


  • variegated goutweed
  • mint
  • goldenrod
  • remnants of a honeysuckle shrub
  • a large patch of Siberian Iris

Fortunately, the area wasn't too large. The tricky part was removing as much of the goutweeds' roots that burrowed between the lumber cracks.

So with a long handled shovel and no herbicides, I dug out the weeds. (As a funny story, the client mentioned that she received many of these weeds as "gifts" from neighbours and friends. She didn't know any better and this weed-choked bed is the result. She had the good humour to laugh about it!)

The clients are not gardeners, in their own words, and prefer not to fuss over perennials and annuals. They just want a cleaner look with lower maintenance so I suggested various ornamental grasses. They chose the Carex "Ice Dance" sedge,  mass-planted. Aside from regular watering the first year until they get established and a trim every early spring, the Carex doesn't require a lot of care.

Here is the result of the cleanup and "rehab":




The Pocket garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket garden renovation after 


The Carex should grow large enough to touch each other and form a groundcover of sorts. The mulch will reduce weeding and watering.



The Pocket garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket front garden renovation before 


The Pocket garden renovation after  Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket front garden renovation after  


The Pocket front garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket front raised garden renovation 


The boxwood suffered winter damage like many broadleaved evergreens across the city. The clients are trying to nurse it back.

The Pocket front garden renovation after  Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
The Pocket front raised garden renovation 



The back "garden" is just a small corner area with a water feature in medium shade. It's non-descript except for the fact that the client is keeping two areas of Japanese knotweed (!) I don't how this small area hasn't been over-run by the knotweed but he likes the bamboo-like stems.

This is something I certainly do not recommend! The knotweed is one of the worst weeds to have and very hard to remove. Yet, here, it works with the homeowner. (I'm still shaking my head!)

The smaller patches of green at ground level, however, is another weedy thug. The front raised bed was filled with variegated goutweed while this back garden has the regular goutweed!




Ravina Crescent back garden renovation before Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Ravina Crescent back garden renovation before 

Again, I dug out the goutweed and removed as much roots as possible. We chose Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra "Aureola") to brighten up this shady corner. It will take a few years, at least, for the grass to form bigger clumps but the Hakone grass complements the water feature.


Ravina Crescent back garden renovation after Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Ravina Crescent back garden renovation after


Ravina Crescent back garden renovation before by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Ravina Crescent back garden renovation before 


Ravina Crescent back garden renovation after by Paul Jung Gardening Services Toronto
Ravina Crescent back garden renovation after 

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