Bloomin’ Update 49: Color My World Brown

Lacecap Hydrangea.

Lacecap Hydrangea.

“You spend an awful lot of time agonizing over leaves,” Joe, my partner, said to me the other day as we drove around the neighborhood.  His statement was in response to my noticing that some homeowners had bagged their leaves in plastic bags while others had bagged them in recyclable brown paper bags, which the township now requires.

Peony Leaves.

Peony Leaves.

Peony Leaf.

Peony Leaf.

No matter the reason for his comment, his observation was correct.  Very correct.





I do spend an awful lot of time thinking of leaves — or, more specifically, the raking of leaves.  This year, rather than raking a little bit each weekend, I decided to table my anxiety, to relish the display of nature’s stained glass, and to wait for the trees to drop most of their leaves so I could spend one marathon day cleaning up.





But a few brushes with freezing temperatures and a 10” rain deficit worked together to bring on leaf browning and one massive leaf fall.  Now, the yard is buried in brown — and don’t it make my brown eyes, well, brown?  Even a feral cat that has taken up residence in my garden seems as one with the landscape.


The feral cat we call Tiger.

Today, then, was to be my marathon raking day.



Mother Nature, though, made different plans, one that included wind (which helped bring down the remaining oak leaves) and showers (which, although needed, dampened the fallen leaves as well as my energy).



So my leaf raking will have to wait for another day, while my leaf talking goes on.

34 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Update 49: Color My World Brown

  1. It’s hard to get motivated for fall clean-up when the weather is dreary, but the thought of fall clean-up in January, February or March is even worse! Good luck! (I haven’t raked mine yet either…)

    • Hi Elaine. In the back of my mind, I had those same thoughts of dread about doing this chore in the bleak mid-winter. Brrrr. I keep hoping for a windy day in the right direction so that the leaves magically blow somewhere else. So far, not so good. 🙂

  2. oh dear ! your garden looks a bit like mine after a few frosty night and heavy rainfa, everything is wet wet wet and brown….I hate it !!! may Spring come soon !!!! I am already looking forward to it ! but you do have a beautiful cat !

    • Hi Gwennie. So far the cat has been a happy distraction from the colder weather. Even our own indoor cat is captivated by Tiger when they stare at each other through the window. The outdoor cat meets the indoor cat. 🙂 But I agree: bring on spring.

  3. For the past 3 weekends all I have done is tackle leaves. The only good thing I can say is, my back and arms are getting a killer workout because I rake the old fashioned way, with a RAKE, not a leaf blower. 🙂

    Poor Tiger. He’s in rough shape. Do you guys feed him? I used to have a colony of feral cats that lived on my property that I took care of. Over the years, little by little each one passed away.

  4. I like your original thought, Kevin. I don’t really understand the need to immediately pick up leaves. My husband obsesses about the leaves and I am always asking if they can’t just linger a bit longer. To me, they’re part of fall’s landscape and even in their brown “dead” state, they have natural beauty. Maybe I’m just practical. I think a marathon raking session just makes sense. Now that could be a different story if they sit wet for a week and are harder to pick up next weekend. 🙂 Good luck!

    • This was my first year waiting — and it was rather nice. But now the task is a bit overwhelming. I’m perfectly fine with some fall leaves on the ground, but this is a bit much. As soon as some time opens up, I’ll get right on it. It might take some time, but most of it will get done. I hope. 🙂

  5. I am a leaf stalker. I will be driving my truck around the neighborhood by my office looking for bagged leaves. Used to do this a few years ago because I couldn’t stand seeing people throw away leaves! I’ve calmed down since then but now I’ve learned that chickens love to scratch around piles of leaves. It’s their winter activity. So, here I go again….

    • Should I ship you a couple or a dozen of bags? 🙂 In all seriousness, I don’t do a phenomenal raking job. Most leaves stay in the beds for the winter — but the volume of leaves is so great that I have to rake some of them.

  6. Nice images. The garden still has a lot to offer this time of year. I don’t have to deal with many leaves in my current garden so it’s easy to remember how fun it is to gather them all up, notice the crunch underfoot and jump into the piles.

    • Hi! I also love crunch and the smell of the leaves. I’d be more than happy to visit your place and provide you with a layer of leaves. Just say the word! 🙂

  7. Dealing with leaves is the one outside chore that my husband actually volunteers for – mainly because he gets to use the leaf blower. It is quite the event, with my husband blowing the leaves into a pile, and then the kids working as fast as they can to distribute the leaves back out onto the lawn. Eventually all the leaves somehow get near(ish) the back woods area. And then of course the wind blows a bunch more leaves down all over everything, which end up neglected until spring. Every year I mean to gather all the leaves up and shred them for compost, but oh, well. Another year, maybe!

    • I begin the leaf fall season with the mower — but then the leaves become too numerous and deep for the mower. I try to keep the beds leafier — but I have to get rid of some, even though I know spring will have its share of leaves. Ugh! 🙂 Can your husband provide an in-service on proper blower use?

  8. Hi Kevin: We are new to your blog by way of mutual blogging buddy Carrie Rubin. We’ve been knocking around your blog & have to say it’s very nice; and the pictures exquisite! We’ve been lucky this year our county allowing us to rake & burn which is sometimes forbidden on dryer falls. Glad you we’re able to share the beautiful pics which we admired in each stage of your different posts. We’ll definitely be back to visit. 🙂

  9. Hi Kevin. Our yard looks the same…covered in brown leaves after our recent freezing temperatures. I enjoyed your story about the cat visiting you the same time everyday. Forty or so years ago we had a frequent visitor cat that took a liking to us when we started to feed him outside. Next thing we knew was that he wanted to come into the house. We put up an ad for its owner and nobody responded and the affection between us was mutual. He became a family member for over 15 years…one of our favorite pets never to be forgotten!

    • Hi Lee. I have a feeling it might come to that with Tiger. He’s pretty bold and fearless already with us. Not sure how my indoor cat and dog will react to a third furry friend. . . 🙂

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