Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'Tis the Season...

...for homemade leaf mulch. When Environment Canada predicted the country was in store for its coldest winter in 15 years, I decided my plants could use a little extra seasonal warmth. Every autumn I send bags and bags and more bags of fallen leaves from my neighbour's front yard merrily on their way to city compost facilities. This year was different. Instead of bagging all the leaves I piled some high and then used my push mower to chop them up (the right side of the photo is pre-mower, the left side is post).

Much like the raking of leaves, I found the mowing of the leaves strangely exhilirating. With every slice of the turning blades I became more and more convinced that this exercise was a recipe for garden success. I envisioned my garden safe and warm tucked under its blanket of shredded leaves. I imagined the brutal winter cracking and crumbling the leaves into dust. I dreamed of the coming spring when the thaw would leach life giving nourishment from the garden's protective layer.

The mulch went a lot further than I imagined and, due to poor planning on my part, not far enough. The entire bed on the north side of the garden got a layer of about 3-4cm deep. I had to be more selective on the south side because I ran out. I kicked myself for not starting the mulching project two weeks earlier. All those leaves shipped off to compost facilities would have come in very handy.

I did have enough to protect the one plant I fell in love with this season. It's also the one plant I can't wait to see again and have the highest hopes for next year: Japanese "All Gold" Forest Grass or hakenochloa. I'm not sure that this is a plant that has the ability to survive a Canadian winter, let alone the coldest Canadian winter in 15 years. But all tucked in in under its blanket of homemade mulch, maybe, just maybe, it stands a chance.


Gardenista said...

Good luck to your garden! I hope the leaf mulch does it well this cold winter. I'm not mulching anymore, since my plants are already all covered in over a foot of snow. I can only hope for more, I guess.

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