Frost melts into tiny water droplets on my Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire'
I hope you have been enjoying the same wonderful weather we have been blessed with here this fall. There has been only a few really cold nights, with a light morning frost that quickly melts in the sunshine.
Yesterday was glorious. I was out in the yard, without so much as a sweater, beginning the fall clean up of the garden.
We have several mature trees in the yard, the oldest of which is a Black Walnut, that towers some three stories over the garden. It produces a prodigious number of walnuts, many as big as medium sized apples. These lime green, rock hard orbs can rain down with from the sky with such force, it can damage the garden fence or snap the rungs of my wooden arbor in two.
The yard, littered with the hundreds of these round walnuts, becomes a roller rink that can send you sailing.
Burgundy Mum from the front garden
Black walnuts are supposedly a delicacy, however I have yet to figure out how to crack them open. Their impenetrable outer shell defies me!
Picking up the walnuts is a backbreaking enterprise. First, I have to rake them into piles and then I scoop them up into an old metal dustpan. If I neglect to get the job done, the walnuts soften and turn in to papery black balls, that ooze a liquid as dark and thick as crude oil.
The water fountain in the back garden
What are your thoughts on fall clean up in the garden? Do you rake your beds clear?
In the past, I always put fall leaves into my compost pile. Then I started wondering, why I was doing this? When leaves fall in a forest, no one is there to "clean up".
So, for the last few years I have been experimenting.
It all started with the woodland bed, under our large maple. I stopped raking away the yellow maple leaves when they fell.
During our harsh Canadian winters, I think that fall leaves make a great blanket that protects the plants that rest warm and cozy underneath them.
Pokeweed with frost crystals
I did not rake the maple leaves away in the spring either.
Initially, I was worried that the new growth might rot under the leaves or be consumed by insects, who would not distinguish between the decomposing leaves and the new growth.
But no, the new spring growth emerged from the leaf covered beds just fine.
Then last year, when I cut down the the peonies in my front garden, I laid the spent plant's leaves right back on the bed. In June, the peonies thanked me with a profusion of blooms.
I don't know if these fall clean up experiments will backfire on me at some point, but so far so good!
Many of my roses still carry on and a few even have blooms, including this white ground cover rose that I purchased on sale at the local grocery store.