Leaf It Where It Falls

On garden day, local first graders were introduced to the notion that trees drop their leaves where needed. One budding botanist responded, “So you just leaf it where it falls?” The duff of trees and plants are important compost for both soil and insects. But for some reason, we have been trained to “clean up” nature. Every week, right before trash day, neighborhoods are buzzing with power tools and leaf blowers in an attempt to remove any speck of dust from nearby landscapes. Native yards meanwhile, are happily blooming, decaying, or going dormant, depending on the plant. No power tools; no weekly ritual.

Your yard is much more enjoyable when you can revel in the seasons and understand that plants are not about you. See flowers as food for pollinators and, more importantly, dead flowers as the indicator of seeds. There is so much to see when nature is center stage. Lesser

goldfinches hang precariously on the long, brown, twisted stalks of spent Hooker’s evening primrose. Ladybugs regularly dot the late summer blooms of deer grass. Lizards dart about and whole flocks of birds settle into a seedy-looking saltbush.

Just leaf it where it falls.

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