The Leaves are Gone.

It’s about time for the leaves to be gone. It’s mid Winter with the shortest day of the year approaching. They should be gone by now. The mornings are dark and the evening close in early, an hour earlier in our north-facing garden while I can watch the sun shine for an hour longer on the south-facing ground across the river. The cold falls on the garden in early afternoon and I work the last hour or more of the day in the shadow of the higher land to the south of the garden, a chilling time, a time to be busy, physically active, to keep the body warm. Leaf-raking suits the bill perfectly and I have done plenty of leaf-raking in recent times.

The weather has been dry and I was able – in December! – to run the ride-on lawnmower around the garden to collect leaves this week. The leaves gather naturally at the verges of the beds and borders and I rake them out onto the grass so the mower can take them up – a lot less work that raking the entire garden. The mowing shreds the leaves and makes them more compact for storage and I added eight bags to this year’s store, future leafmould for use as a top dressing in those beds where I grow snowdrops. It is an invaluable material for the garden and worth the effort of collecting the leaves each year.

Ready for the lawnmower:

Leaves, bagged and stacked to make leafmould

On other fronts, I have finished the cutting down of the heavy herbaceous material, those bigger plants which have finished for this year and are best cleared away and added to the compost heap. I noticed that the flowers are emerging on hellebores and made a start on those this afternoon. In several places in the garden they are planted as companion plants to snowdrops, their foliage covering the ground when the snowdrops are gone over and these were first to get my attention. It is good to see the snowdrops coming into flower. This last week seems to have had them put on an amazing spurt of growth and there are snouts showing all around the garden, some with the white of the flowers showing and even a few already fully in flower. With so many snowdrops in the garden a good clear up is essential at this time of the year rather than walking in on top of them later.

Elsewhere, a few images from around the garden:

10 thoughts on “The Leaves are Gone.

  1. For me the dilemma is how much leaf cover can I leave in the borders! I made new cages for the leaves in the compost area this year as I found it difficult to manage bags in previous years. It is such a valuable addition to borders especially for my heavy clay soil. Taking is a great way to keep warm in the winter garden too!

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    1. I leave the leaves on the borders, except the very verge, and just take them off the grass. I find the bags the most convenient way of storing the leaves and easy to use then to spread the leafmould about next year.


    1. ‘Barnes’ is a reliable flowerer for early November. I have a few G. reginae olgae which flower in late September but they are in pots in the glasshouse as my garden doesn’t suit them at all. Others are coming along now and will open shortly.

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  2. Morning Paddy, have been up our oxters here in leaves, now all bagged in black plastic, which I punch a few holes in. But your bags look very interesting; are they a special bag for composting?

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    1. Good Morning, Joe. I hope you are all well in Cork with this storm raging. I was talking to my son and he said it was rough enough – no work as shop closed in Cobh. We lost ESB for a very short while because a tree was down and a small tree in garden but otherwise all well. Re the bags: these are old seed bags – barley – from Flahavan’s. I had them from my neighbours years ago and they must have been lying in an outhouse for years and years for its ages since seed was supplied in this way. They are very like the woven coal bags you see so they allow air and moisture in. They work perfectly and then are very convenient when you need to spread the leafmould. All the best.


  3. Your garden photos are always inspiring, and I just love those early snowdrops! In Northeast Massachusetts, I won’t see any until March! They are the earliest bulb to bloom here which makes them especially dear to my heart!

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    1. I have seen some American gardeners posting photographs of snowdrops in flower at the moment and even earlier. They are so very welcome as winter is setting in here and will continue to flower, various cultivars, until March.

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