Falling Leaves

October 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Gardens, Nature | 3 Comments
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Bright colours, Victoria

Autumn in the northern latitudes is a time for colour – reds and oranges and browns in all shades and textures. In small parts of Australia, the same applies. For instance, the sub-alpine town of Bright, in Victoria, is well known for its beautiful autumn colours. But there, the trees are mostly northern hemisphere ones, not Australian.

Because Australian native trees, such as eucalypts, do not shed all their leaves when autumn comes, most people do not believe they shed their leaves at all. But they do; they just don’t do it after summer is over. They do it when summer is coming.

Eucalypt leaves

We have a lot of eucalypts on our little piece of land. It is now (the end of October) the second half of spring here, and I have just raked their leaves from our lawns for the second time in four days. There is no shortage of them as you can see from the photo.

The trees lose leaves all year too, though not in such numbers. These leaves are dense and hard, not thin and brittle like those of deciduous trees, and they can take years to break down.

Most of the time I don’t bother raking them, but chop them up with the mulching mower. This helps to build up what is a naturally poor and thin layer of soil. But in spring, I collect them – not to throw them out or burn them though.

 

Goanna with leaves

We have a mostly native garden, and the spaces between the trees, shrubs and other plants remains bare. With summer heat, moisture evaporates quickly, so I use a layer of mulch to cover the ground. I used to use wood chips, but the cost is too high for our budget. Eucalypt leaves provide a great substitute. That is why I collect them when they are plentiful.

I cannot understand the mentality of people who chop down a beautiful, (perhaps hundred-year-old or more) tree, just because it drops leaves on their paths or lawns.

In a few more weeks, the spotted gums will shed their bark. Then, I will collect that and use it for mulch too.

Picture 1: Bright, Victoria

Picture 2: Eucalypt leaves on my lawn

Picture 3: Eucalypt mulch on garden. Plants (R to L) Cycad; banksia; kangaroo paw, plus my pet goanna.

© Linda Visman 29th October 2011

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