York Urbanist

Archive for the ‘Horticulture’ Category

Trees for Healing

April 24th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Horticulture

The following is an excerpt from Trevor Hancock’s article recently. Trevor is a former Kleinburg, Ontario resident and well-traveled on the speaking circuit.   Islington Crossing watercolour

In 1984, Roger Ulrich at Texas A&M University reported that post-surgical patients who had a view of nature recovered more quickly and needed fewer painkillers than patients with a view of a brick wall. Subsequent research has found that simply seeing pictures of nature can be helpful, while a “healing garden” can reduce stress, improve mood and increase satisfaction among patients, families and staff. One particularly interesting set of results comes from Frances Ming Kuo at the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois. She compared people living in identical social-housing estates where, by chance, some had quite “green” environments (lots of vegetation) and others did not.

She found:

• The greater the amount of greenery in common spaces, the higher the levels of mutual caring and support among neighbours;

• The more vegetation, the lower the crime rate;

• Higher levels of residential greenery are associated with lower levels of aggression against domestic partners;

• The more natural the view from home, the better girls scored on tests of concentration and self-discipline;

• The more greenery, the higher levels of optimism and sense of effectiveness;

• The greener the setting in which children with attention-deficit disorder spend time, the more their symptoms are relieved.

These are remarkable results. But what is also important is that this is social housing, so these are people who are already disadvantaged. To further disadvantage them by providing less green environments seems to add insult to injury. Yet we have solid evidence that access to and contact with nature is related to income. People with higher incomes live closer to parks, and their parks are in better condition, than those living in low-income communities. And of course they are more likely to be able to afford to travel to and spend time in wilderness.

Given the health benefits of contact with nature, the policy challenge we face is not how to get people to nature, important though that might be, but how to get nature to people. We will never get all the people in our cities out to the wilderness on a regular basis (and if we did, the wilderness would suffer). So how do we bring nature into homes and streets, schools and neighbourhoods?

These are important issues for governments to consider. We need more pocket parks, street trees, school and community gardens and other green assets in our communities. Even more important, we need to preferentially increase access to and contact with nature for low-income urban populations, whose needs for such access and contact are greater. Dr. Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy. [email protected]

This is posted to reflect the reasons for Trees For Kleinburg - See http://yorkurbanist.com/2015/03/19/green-ribbon-campaign-kleinburg-on/

Landscape meets Curling

December 13th, 2012
Horticulture, Recreation

Never expected to read about Glen Howard in my Turf & Recreation - Landscape Trades magazine. He wasn’t talking curling or beer….but Weedman, the team’s 2012 sponsor. The article, if you can read it, speaks to the challenges of acquiring sponsors for even the world’s top curling team. Weedman has stepped up and used it for their marketing purposes. Great job Glen, Wayne, Brent, Craig. Could you stop by Kleinburg after the worlds and work on my lawn?

National Forest Week

September 25th, 2012

When most of the population of Canada lives in the urban centres, it takes a special week to remind us that there much of Canada is forested  http://www.oforest.ca/index.php/nfw

Saving Ash Trees

August 22nd, 2012

Can we afford to save ash trees? One letter to the editor puts the cost into perspectives to which we all can relate. http://www.yorkregion.com/opinion/article/1489026–saving-tree-would-be-money-well-spent

More Toronto Gardens

June 28th, 2012
annuals match salt and ketchup

More pictures from the Toronto City-Wide Gardens Contest

Toronto Gardens Judge

June 28th, 2012

North York Finalist

Although I cannot divulge the winners, here are some sample pictures from the finalists of Toronto-wide Gardens Contest.  Winners will be announced at a ceremony on October 15.  There were two particularly outstanding submissions in 2012.  Submitted were highrises, commercial properties, residences and residences whose environmental theme precludes grass in the front yard.  One submission was reminiscent of a hobbit home, whose gardens should frequent magazines.  Although most were not professionally designed, one which was is maintained in spectacular fashion.  A secret garden is fashioned into one small front yard while another featured a truly Canadian landscape. The 1970′s decade, represented in an Etobicoke highrise, is contrasted with a newer 2000′s apartment complex.

See more photos at: http://yorkurbanist.com/2012/06/more-toronto-gardens/


Etobicoke Residence

Titan Arum

May 5th, 2012

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1173708–world-s-tallest-flower-has-bloomed-for-the-first-time-in-canada?bn=1 The world’s tallest plant has burst into bloom at the Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls, marking the first time that a Titan arum has flowered in Canada.


May 5, 2012- The first plant has finally bloomed! Wayne Hoeschle, caretaker of the Amorphophalus Plant, stands beside the massive flower

Toronto Gardens Awards

September 22nd, 2011

invitation to Toronto Gardens Oct 11 11

I am pleased to announce the winners of the Toronto Gardens Contest to be held October 11.

Pruning Techniques

September 2nd, 2011

This time of year finds many of those plants that we love invade our space unintended.  Notwithstanding that I am a landscape ARCHITECT, I continue to be asked, “how do I prune my … shrubs…. roses… trees.  Obligingly, here is the procedure.

“To encourage rapid healing of wounds, make all cuts clean and smooth. This requires good, sharp pruning equipment. Do not leave stubs since they are usually where die back occurs. Avoid tearing the bark when removing large branches. The following provides some specifics on pruning techniques.

Most woody plants fall into two categories based on the arrangement of the buds on the twigs and branches. In general, the bud arrangements determine the plants’s typical growth habit. Buds may have an alternate or an opposite arrangement on the twigs. A plant with alternate buds usually is rounded, pyramidal, inverted pyramidal, or columnar in shape. Plants having opposite buds rarely assume any form other than that of a rounded tree or shrub with a rounded crown. The position of the last pair of buds always determines the direction in which the new shoot will grow. Buds on top of the twig probably will grow upward at an angle and to the side on which it is directed. In most instances, it is advisable to cut back each stem to a bud or branch.  Selected buds that point to the outside of the plant are more desirable than buds pointing to the inside. By cutting to an outside bud, the new shoots will not grow through the interior of the plants or crisscross.

When cutting back to an intersecting (lateral) branch, choose a branch that forms an angle of no more than 45 degrees with the branch to be removed (Figure 5). Also, the branch that you cut back to should have a diameter of at least half that of the branch to be removed. Make slanting cuts when removing limbs that grow upward; this prevents water from collecting in the cut and expedites healing. ”


picture from www.healthierorganics.com

This blog is the result of my daughter’s job. She called from the job site and asked, “How do I…”. I guess folks consider that pruning is an inherited type of gene.