Friday, December 3, 2010

All the leaves are down...

Photo by Rachel Shaw
I admit fall is not my favorite season, mainly because of what follows all too soon. But it has its charms on  lovely mild days when the light is just right and the leaves have a golden glow. 

Raking leaves used to be one of the things I enjoyed about fall, and still do, though I’m doing a lot less of it. More and more people are making the case for not raking, or raking minimally, or composting raked leaves rather than bagging them. They make the case that leaves make a nice mulch, and and are a source of nutrients. After all, that lovely humus in the woods builds up naturally; it doesn’t come out of a plastic bag! 

So last year I raked only our small patch of grass, and left the beds pretty much alone. This year I’ve heard another good reason to let the leaves remain: they are protection for overwintering insects, including caterpillars. OK! Good enough for me. 

I do keep an eye out to make sure there aren’t too many maple leaves mounded around individual plants, as they have a tendency to form a dense wet mat. And I probably should have thought sooner to scoop up the leaves off the little patch of erstwhile lawn that I'm trying to convert to moss. I'll keep sweeping leaves off the flagstone front path, so it won't get slippery with leaves when it rains.  Otherwise, no raking.

And here’s a link to a beautiful blog on leaving the leaves, as well as on different styles of gardening: