Each year I allow the leaves on my many trees to drop where they may. I do keep them off the lawn and hard surfaces but they stay on the beds protecting the tender roots just beneath the soil surface. I know that on the down side of this it does add a lot of places for slugs to breed and live during the winter months but the payoff has always been greater than the few damages that some new grown leaves receive.
Today I began the arduous process of removing last fall's bounty. It really is like Christmas in spring. I am always delighted and saddened to see the kids that made it thru and those that did not. As always, I will withhold my final judgement until much later in the year before I say a plant is completely dead. One that is for sure dead though is my beautiful Chocolate Mimosa...yep, as dead as could be. I don't foresee any chance of this amazing new introduction returning. And sorry, but I can offer no logical reason why it went the way of the Dodo. At 100.00 bucks a pop, I don't think I will be replacing it. However three feet away in the same bed a peppermint eucalyptus was just fine! I would have thought it to be much less hardy than the Mimosa. Well...just goes to show what I know!
Anyway, I digress...the leaves are now raked off of half the beds (and remember; that is quite a feet considering my gardens cover over an acre) and most of the piles have been removed. If tomorrow holds out with nice weather I may just hit it again.
As I raked away this detritus, I already noticed a plethora of weed seedlings. Man, what is it about these promiscuous little buggers? Have they NO shame? They procreate with such ease and abundance that it really makes my head spin.
This year is, I think, unseasonably warm....after all, last year at Gardenpalooza, Wooden Shoe Tulips always provides us with bunches of daffodils to give away at our booth but they couldn't yet as there were not any blooming! I have some varieties that are already blooming this year! And in February!!!
With some remorse, as I continued to remove last years leaves, I found out today that I missed the first round with the weeds. Normally I would get the leaves cleaned-up and pre-emergent down before they could start their nefarious underground little actions...But this year....Weeds-1 William-0...However...the year has just begun! I will live to fight another day and hopefully have a better strategy.
All in all...it was a good day. Sun, cool breeze and the ability to stand back at the end of the day and see what was accomplished. That is one of the things I love most about gardening...a complete sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with a job well done.
I hope you all get the same feeling as you begin your winter clean-up.