The Big Sweep.

I reckon we are about 3/4 of the way through sweeping up all our leaves, when I look up into the canopy, I can see so many more leaves that are just waiting to drop into the garden. Please don’t misunderstand me,  I love my trees a lot, I think they were the real reason why we bought this house. I love their age, their huge trunks, the patterns they make against the sky, watching the squirrels dashing about , leaping from branch to branch, listening to the owls that call in the night while sitting in the branches, and being able to grow clematis and roses up them so that the trees look as if they are flowering in the summer with a waterfall of colour.

Oaks and their leaves

Here we have the two oaks that shed their leaves onto the back lawn, the one on the left is ours and the one on the right belongs to our neighbour. These leaves are just waiting to drop.

Leaves on the lawn

This is the back lawn before I started to sweep them up. All the time I was busy I could hear them pitter pattering down beside me, I’ve never known the leaves to be so dry before.

Oak and Osakazuki leaves

The leaves are 95% from the oaks, but it is also farewell to Acer Osakazuki as well, see you next year, hopefully as bright as this year.

Half done

Half of the back lawn done, time for a coffee!

Back lawn done

All that is left now is to carry them through to a corner of the woodland, to rot down into lovely dark leaf mould. It’s nice to see the grass looking green again.

In the woodland, leaf mould piles

Not very good, but the pile on the right is the one that we are making this year, the pile on the left where it is a bit darker, is 2 yrs old.

Leaf mould

Just removing the top layer of leaves which have fallen this year, shows the lovely dark, crumbly texture of the leaf mould which we will soon be able to spread round all the snowdrops and hellebores.

So, the big sweep might be a bit arduous, but I keep telling myself that its all good for the waistline as well as the special plants in the woodland. I now have just the rest of the lawn to sweep up now, round by the field and the circle by the bog garden, thank goodness the under gardener is now back home, so I will get some help!

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20 Responses to The Big Sweep.

  1. Anna says:

    Oh I think that we are ahead of you Pauline – there are no more leaves in the immediate vicinity to fall down 🙂 I imagine though that you’ve probably got more to tackle than I have. I find leaf gathering quite a therapeutic option and like you think of that lovely crumbly end product that the snowdrops and other woodlanders will relish. Glad to read that the under gardener has come to your rescue.

    • Pauline says:

      Lucky you Anna, having finished your leaf sweeping. The snowdrops and hellebores certainly enjoy their mulch, they always look very healthy with it surrounding them. The under gardener was busy sweeping again this afternoon, he gave me the afternoon off!

  2. pbmgarden says:

    What a job you have. At least with your patience you find a reward in the dark leaf mould. Susie

    • Pauline says:

      I love spreading the leaf mould Susie, I think its wonderful that the leaves drop from the trees and then all this stored goodness goes back onto the soil, for the the snowdrops and hellebores, but I’m sure the trees that are near them benefit from it too. In spite of all the leaves that we have, we never seem to have enough!

  3. Cathy says:

    You have more and bigger trees than us Pauline, and more grass for them to fall onto, so yours is a harder job. I sometimes throw some of ours onto the woodland but didn’t think of collecting them all there – I was disappointed with the contents of the leaf cage because of ivy and other roots that had got in, so have bagged most of ours this year and stacked them in our composting area. Like Anna I find sweeping them up quite therapeutic – how about you?

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, I do find sweeping the leaves therapeutic, in the sunshine with the birds singing, it is the best place to be. We sometimes have tree roots that come up into the stored leaves, but they are quite easy to get rid of. I tried bagging them up in the last place we lived, but wasn’t successful, so didn’t try again!

  4. rusty duck says:

    The leaves are really dry this year. They look so lovely on the ground too, with the variety of colours, a real pot pourri.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree, Jessica, I don’t think I’ve ever known them so dry in previous years, normally we’re complaining that they’re too wet to sweep up!

  5. Christina says:

    Good work Pauline, the leaves may take a little longer to break down as they are so dry. The leaves are often that dry here but the higher temperatures help them rot down reasonably quickly. The wind was so strong many leaves came down whilst still green!

    • Pauline says:

      I’m sure Christina, that the pile will soon get wet, more storms are rapidly approaching from the Atlantic and will arrive Friday, so one more day to clear as much as we can! Its a shame when the wind rips the leaves from the trees while they’re still green, cut down in their prime.

  6. Cathy says:

    I do sympathise, but fortuately all ours came down a lot quicker. We’ve had so many seeds this year too, from all the sycamores etc. All that fresh air and exercise is good though! 😉

    • Pauline says:

      It seems to be a very good year Cathy,for acorns too, the squirrels have so many, they don’t know where to bury them all! It is good to get in the garden when it is warm and sunny, doesn’t feel like exercise at all!

  7. Wendy says:

    It is lovely being surrounded by mature oaks, but they do drop some leaves! We’re surrounded by mature oaks here, too – so everything is covered by their leaves at the moment. I don’t mind sweeping them up, either (and I would rather be raking and sweeping than using one of those noisy blowers). It just feels like a natural and seasonal task in the garden.

    • Pauline says:

      The oaks are lovely aren’t they Wendy, we have six altogether but next doors leaves always seem to blow into our garden too, the prevailing wind comes from the west, so they just float over the hedge! We do have a garden vac but it hardly ever gets used, never for blowing but just occasionally for sucking them up as it shreds them at the same time, even so it is much quicker to just put the piles into a black bag and take them into the woodland and dump them on the pile of leaves in the corner.

  8. wellywoman says:

    That’s quite a pile of leaves there. 😉 I only have an acer and a crab apple in the garden so not too many leaves to gather. I tend to leave the acer’s leaves to rot on the soil but I gather the apple’s and put them in a bin with other leaves I collect from the village. I think the neighbours think I’m like a Womble gathering up leaves from everywhere. I’ve taken to using plastic dustbins. I tried using plastic bags but I didn’t like them having to go to landfill when I was finished with them. Then I tried those degradable sacks but they degraded more quickly than the leaves. The dustbins are working very well though. (you might get this comment twice, wordpress is being a bit awkward).

    • Pauline says:

      At the moment WW we are just clearing the leaves on the lawn, the leaves on the borders are mostly left to rot down except the front 2 ft because the blackbirds then toss them all onto the grass! Plastic bags didn’t work for me either, I would rather look at a pile of leaves than a pile of bin bags! Good for you gathering your leaves from your village, so many go to waste don’t they.
      So far I have have just one comment from you, but I found you in with the spam!

  9. I think oak leaves make some of the best leaf mould to be had. I adore it, but I did find when I gardened in London (heavy clay) that I couldn’t use it like I did at work (where we used to pile it in a thick carpet on our woodland garden, sandy river soil). At home, when I did the same thing in my small hosta patch, the slugs went for the young shoots hammer and tongs and I had to give up!
    Yes – a good year for nuts. I started coppicing our hazels early because I needed to get on with some new work in the border where they are growing. I found lots of little nuts around them and was so sad that I a) hadn’t noticed earlier b) won’t have them next year. But there’s always the future to look forward to, isn’t there?

    • Pauline says:

      We don’t really have enough Cathy to pile it on thickly, we are on heavy clay too, so anything is better than nothing. We have so many blackbirds and thrushes,that root through the mulch, the slugs and snails don’t seem to stand a chance, so hostas usually do very well.
      We have hazel in a hedge by the veggie garden, but as it gets clipped, no nuts I’m afraid, we have another in the woodland, so thank you for reminding me that it needs coppicing this year. We also have dormice so I think any nuts would be eaten before I realised that there were any there!

  10. Well I suppose there has to be a downside to all those wonderful trees, but as you say, recovering the green of the lawn, plus the exercises, plus all that lovely leafmould? All good things!

    • Pauline says:

      I agree totally Janet. After the rain and gales of the last couple of days, there aren’t many leaves left on the oaks now, so one big final sweep should do it for this year. Guess who is out in the garden sweeping up, not me! Never mind, I’ll make him a cup of tea soon and give him a Christmassy mincemeat slice to go with it!

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