Sunday, November 7, 2010

Be Careful Of the Little Things

So easy to get in a hurry with fall cleanup, rush through the leaf-raking chores to get them done. But take care----

This little cutie was hanging out on a brugmansia that I was cutting back

And this little fellow nearly got the business end of the broom when I was sweeping off the deck, as it was sunning, surrounded by acorns. It was so well camoflaged on the grey deck boards that I would have missed it if it hadn't moved a little. It was cold and moving slowly so it was easy to capture and move out of harms way.

This praying mantis egg case almost got tossed on the fire when I cut back hardy ageratum in the fall
 cleanup, but luckily I spotted it, 4' above the ground, before I cut off the stem.

I found wooly caterpillars today, assasin bugs, several  lizards and a garter snake sunning itself on a rock, as I was cutting back perennials. Fallen leaves are left to protect the plants, and add organic matter to the soil over the winter. In the spring, the top layer of leaves that didn't decompose are taken off to the compost pile. Leaf fall on paths and driveways is raked and shredded on a weekly basis, before anything can take up residence in there (and before it becomes one biiiiggg chore!), then added to garden beds where they break down quickly, nourishing the soil.  Lawn leaves are mowed with the mulching blade on the mower to add nutrients to the lawn.

The fall cleanup isn't so pressing that we can't take the time to enjoy the diversity that gives our gardens life, and to take care lest we in our haste, destroy a tiny life.There are many little treasures that live in the leaves and detrius of the garden that largely go unseen except by the most observant gardener, and keeping a spotless garden deprives them of a place to spend a cosy winter. It is so easy to scoop them up unnoticed among the leaves if we clean up all the leaves that fall into the beds, and toss them out with the trash or worse, into the shredder.

So let the leaves lay as they may! There will be plenty of time in the spring to divest the plants of their protective leaf blankets, and when the snow flies, we can content ourselves with the knowledge that in the spring, the butterflies will come again, the frogs will sing, the mantids will pray, and lightning bugs will fill our nights with gentle fireworks.


  1. What sweet little creatures..such beauties you came across..gorgeous photos! What a lovely blog you have...I have enjoyed my is lovely to meet you!

  2. Thank you! Glad to meet you too, and welcome to my blog! Hope you can visit often.