We see many people raking and bagging their leaves at this time of year, and we understand that they have good reasons for doing so. However, we have never raked them at Serendipity Gardens, despite the fact that over 50 trees grow here.
Here are three reasons why we do not participate in this annual autumn activity:
- As the wind blows, the leaves blow, too, until they get stopped by a plant, like these plants in the photos below. It’s almost as though the plants are gathering the leaves around them, somewhat like a cloak. We like to think that the leaves serve as a small bit of insulation to help the plants weather the winter.
- Our gardening philosophy is, as much as possible, to emulate the greatest gardener of them all, Mother Nature. She never rakes leaves, but rather leaves them to build the soil. How the leaves turn into soil remains a mystery. Sara Stein, author of Noah’s Garden, says, “It takes trillions of [tiny] to microscopic organisms of thousands of species to decay to soil those leaves … we haven’t identified more than a tiny fraction of these organisms, much less understood their individual contributions or imagined the complex relationships among them by which the task is done.” We like the idea that we are helping this mysterious process by leaving the leaves alone.
- Piles of leaves provide habitat and nest-building material for small creatures, including some birds. We want those creatures in our garden, so it makes sense to lend them a helping hand.
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