There’s sun

Today, there’s sun in the usually shaded side garden, with sunlight streaming into rooms of the house that have been dark for months. Of course, this also means that there are now mountains of leaves covering parts of the garden, ripped from trees by another inch of rain as a chilly breeze pushed out a short spell of warmth.

The tall Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum, below) outside the library window remains in leaf, shading the morning sun, but also uppermost branches are flowering. While sporadic blooms are not unusual, I suspect that flowering in November is not typical, and certainly I’ve never noticed it before, though flowers fifteen feet up could easily be missed.

Fallen leaves in this area of the garden will remain for weeks, and usually for months. Some will be left undisturbed to decay, while deepest mounds must eventually be shredded and spread. Areas planted with hellebores are first to be cleared, sometimes before the year’s end, but more often by early February so that flowers can be seen.

Flowers of hellebores do not require insulating protection of mounded leaves, and in a mild winter the lack of sunlight can delay flowering. So, leaves are best removed earlier, but, best practices are not always necessary, and this is one that happens when good weather and mood align.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    The maples everywhere else make such excellent litter. My first maple happened to be the silver maple. It know it is a trashy tree to those who know it, but it is exotic here, and happens to be a good maple for the arid climate here. It does well even in some of the desert towns. The litter decays so well! There are only two maples that are native here. The box elder is the same box elder that everyone else knows and dislikes. The litter is nice, but the trees are rather worthless. The bigleaf maple is my all time favorite maple, even more so than the silver maple, but the leaves are so big and thick that they can smother small plants! Many or most of the native plants in California do not make good litter. Coast live oak and coastal redwood do not decay very well, and have an herbicidal effect.

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