Put Down the Rake!

December 1, 2017

By: Barb Holtz

I love fall. I don't like fall. Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year. Fall is one of the most frustrating times of the year. Fall is a conundrum. I do love the romance of it all - virbrant colors, the crunching underfoot, the smell of earth, the fun of leaf pile play. Frustration spins my head around on my neck when the romance is dulled by leaf blowers, the quest for spotless lawns, and "fall clean up". When did we become so bothered by trees?

If you are one of the "not a leaf on my lawn" folks, at least leave leaves in your garden beds. This natural material is free and offers many perks:

  • Composts to feed your soil
  • Protects your native perennials as nature intended during winter snows. (Nobody was raking leaves before you and I showed up.)
  • Provides cover for wooly bear caterpillars, firefly larva and a host of other incredible insects.

And those thick, spongy-centered stems of Joe Pye Weed, Ironweed or Cup Plant? Leave them standing about 12-18 inches above the soil. Perfect tunnels for solitary bees to spend the winter.

We humans often regard nature's leftovers as refuse. We clean up, bag up, haul away and miss the point. Lets the seed heads stay, let the dead stems stand and definitely leave the leaves. Relax! Nature's got this!

The Xerces Society has a fun campaign for #leavetheleaves. You can read more about it here.

We leave you today with an image of our Rain Garden...protected and ready for a long winter's nap.