Earthscape was honoured alongside project collaborators at the City of Toronto Urban Design Awards as the Grange Park Revitalization received an Award of Excellence for Large Places and/or Neighbourhood Designs.
At a time when urban greenspace is at an all-time premium, the revitalization of Grange Park is a welcome redesign that feels at once fresh and timeless, and does a lot with relatively little space for its program. Generous paths balance open sight lines with sheltered nooks and “rooms,” with welcome shade from a carefully maintained mature tree canopy. The jury noted that the paths loop around a central lawn that doubles as green infrastructure to soak and slow stormwater while providing much-needed open public space for gathering, playing, celebrating and sitting. The enclosed dog run in the wooded southern section provides a safe and separated solution for fourlegged friends, while the playground offers fountains, climbers and adventure in an understated but creative corner. The jury was impressed with the park’s quiet confidence and capable program, offset against the gravitas of the Art Gallery of Ontario, a stately backdrop for this people’s park for the 21st century.
If you read our earlier post, Gardening: Should I Hire Someone For This?, you may have come to the conclusion that you are in the market for a landscape gardener.
You don’t want to pick just anyone to maintain your property. You want someone who is on the same page as you with regard to the goals for your garden. The following is a checklist of essential characteristics you want in your landscape gardener and not surprisingly, they are skills that all our gardeners excel at.
A Good Landscape Gardener…
✓ Puts the Design First
A good landscape gardener will work with your design, knowing the intent the designer had and ensuring it looks better than the day it was installed. They will be able to create a maintenance plan to keep the integrity of the design intact.
A lot of designs feature focal points that add interest to your landscape such as ornamental trees or boulders. Without a gardener that understands the design, these elements can get lost in plant material.
A good landscape gardener will know when they need to alter the design to improve the look and health of the garden. When a piece of the planting design is not functioning as intended or sun/shade patterns have changed, a good gardener will work with the designer to offer suggestions for a good swap.
If your original designer is no longer involved in the process, your gardener will have the knowledge to suggest plant material that compliments the original design.
✓ Is Knowledgeable About Pruning Techniques and Practices
Pruning is an essential skill of any landscape gardener. If done properly, pruning can help the health and appearance of your plant material. There are a few things your gardener should consider when pruning. Bloom periods are essential knowledge. Most plants have specific bloom times where they set buds (i.e. Lilacs). If you prune at the wrong time you may end up cutting off the young buds resulting in a lack of bloom the following season. How a plant is pruned and formed is also very important. You don’t want a company who is going to come in and prune everything really tight. Some plants flourish when they are left to their natural form. Others are even hindered when pruned too tightly. A good gardener will be able to determine which pruning method is right for your gardens.
✓ Understands Proper Disease Control
Diseases can occur in your plant material and be detrimental to the survival of your garden. A good landscape gardener will have a plan to stop the spread of disease to healthy plants. Instead of immediately jumping to a chemical solution, a good gardener will assess the problem and look at alternate solutions. He/she will also recognize when a plant is becoming weak and susceptible to disease, creating a plan to treat or replace it.