Any day now, all the leaves will be down. And that’s where they’ll stay.
I’ve never loved raking, even as I found it contemplative and a ready source of compost fuel; each autumn, I dread the chore, one I dislike as much as any in the garden. Even more than weeding.
Over the years, I made my raking as efficient as possible, as I noted in this post from January. Over the years, I also have asked the question: Why do I rake?
I know why many people rake. As the venerable Farmers’ Almanac puts it, “Removing fallen leaves is vital for the health of your lawn.”
Well, I do not have a lawn. Never have, never will. I do, however, grow mosses. And of course I have a garden. So, for decades, I have dutifully herded leaves, believing they detracted from the beauty of my spaces. Always reluctant, I was never obsessive about when I got the raking done. Sometimes it was fall, other times it was spring. Periodically, I have skipped raking (I’ve gone as long as three years). During those times, I only swept leaves from paths and walks, relying on the wind to uncover the mosses. Eventually, I always gave in to the rake.
Here I go again: I quit again.
This time, I have more motivation than ever before. I increasingly want my garden to look and feel like a natural space. As much as any cultivated space can feel natural.
Arguably, any intervention – pruning, for example, or adding benches, ornaments, rugs for paths – prevents a space from being totally natural. But letting the leaves lay does add a touch of nature. Too, allowing the leaves to decay where they fall adds nourishment to the soil, and will, I hope, smother a few weeds.
At the least, resting the rake will give me back a good chunk of time to enjoy the crunch and feel of walking in the wild, where only nature does the raking.