Leaves freshen things up!

The leaves are falling in my garden, which makes me happy in some ways and sad in others. Rather than lament the end of the growing season, I'm going to look at the leaf carpet as just another aspect of the garden.


Like a good snowfall, the leaves give me a fresh way of looking at everything.


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For instance, the rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos) is essentially just leafless green sticks now...


...which would be lost upon a background of green lawn. The browns of the fallen leaves though give an attractive backdrop that makes those stems pop!

Other plants that still have their green foliage also benefit from the contrast with the browns, like this 'Pee Wee' Oakleaf Hydrangea:


Or this almost-evergreen bamboo, Sasa tsuboiana:


So nice!

Of course fallen leaves mean there's lots of cleanup coming soon, and the lawn raking is just part of the task. The tricker part is getting leaves out of plants. Simple with some like this papyrus...


...but definitely more of a challenge in some beds:


I'm strongly considering sheltering the cactus from the rain and snow this winter, so removing the leaves may not be as pressing (they're only trouble when they trap moisture on the plants that like it dry during the winter).

There are often discoveries to be made in those layers of leaves littering the lawn...


...as I found my first praying mantis ever when raking the leaves 15 years ago before I was much into gardening. I'm not sure how I noticed it just sitting on top of a leaf, but that taught me to always keep my eyes open when wielding the rake!


So I'll enjoy the leaves -- even the exercise their cleanup forces upon me -- as the last excitement I'll see in the garden for a while. Until the first snowfall I suppose.

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (October 29, 2015 at 10:35 AM)  

I enjoy solid carpets of leaves but I hate it when they're stuck between spiky plants. You have both :-)

Maywyn Studio  – (October 29, 2015 at 1:34 PM)  

I love the smell of fallen leaves. I wish it was a perfume instead of a doesn't last candle.

outlawgardener  – (October 30, 2015 at 12:19 AM)  

So much to love about a nice layer of fallen leaves, the fragrance, the crunch underfoot, the colors. I'm too lazy to rake so use the mulching mower to chop them up and then a leaf blower to move any bits on paths into the beds. For the spiky/spiny plants, I love a shop vac with a small attachment on the end of the hose that allows it to get way down into the agaves and cacti. Happy raking, Alan!

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