There are lots of flora and fauna hiding in the fallen leaves this time of year.
Some of the fauna are snuggling in for a long winter nap. A few of the flora are just trying to force out one more bloom amidst the fallen leaves to mark the passing of a growing season that is, for all practical purposes, over.
And all over the land, some people are getting all up in arms (up in rakes?) if you so much as dare to mulch up some of your leaves.
Ah, moderation, where have you gone?
Please do what you need to do in your own garden with your leaves without apologies to anyone else.
(Well, other than burning them. Don’t burn them. Most cities and towns forbid it now anyway.)
Here in my garden, leaves that end up on the lawn get mulched and sucked up into the lawnmower bag catcher, then dumped on one of the raised beds in the vegetable garden. But not at first. The first leaves to fall just get mulched and dropped back on the lawn. But as the season goes on, and more leaves fall, and after I’ve cleaned up the vegetable garden, I like to drop a layer of leaves and grass clippings on those beds.
Leaves that end up on flower borders can stay as long as they don’t pile on too thickly. If that happens, some of them get relocated to the lawn to be mulched, sucked up, and dumped on the vegetable garden beds.
Most of the leaves in my garden are red maples, with serviceberry, magnolia, and honeylocust mixed in. And some dogwoods. And a few large viburnums. And that ginkgo. And a sourwood tree. And a crabapple. And a Japanese tree lilac. And smokebushes, two of them. And hydrangeas here and there. And assorted other miscellaneous shrubs. (But don’t tell them they are miscellaneous shrubs, it hurts their feelings…)
The leaves on the oak tree are mixed in there too but those leaves will hang on through most of the winter, steadily dropping down until spring when new leaves force the last of them off the branches. If they pile up too thickly on a bed, I rake them out. They are thick and slow to decompose, unlike those red maple leaves.
Anyway, that’s how I do leaves here, which I think is a sensible way to handle them. None of them leave unless they get blown away, and all of them become something useful in the garden over time.