What a de-leaf it is!

One of the more spectacular autumn color displays in recent memory is closing. I can tell this by the piles of leaves dropping off the trees at night. The two apple trees still have most of their leaves on them, but the other trees in the yard are mostly to totally bare. Several hours of raking and shredding leaves yielded twenty heavy 30-gallon bags of yard waste. Within three hours, the wind direction shifted and the wind speed picked up. The really tall silver maples in my neighbor’s yards are shedding leaves and I am receiving most of them. Yard work has been daily since last Thursday and will remain a daily chore until next weekend.

Losing leaves exposes all the bird nests built this year. The small Autumn Blaze maple hosted three goldfinch nests, the ash in the back yard had an oriole nest and several robin nests, and the burning bush had a cardinal nest tucked away. If this year is like previous years, the forsythia should have several chickadee and wren nests in it.

There are still a few flowers in the garden, mostly hardy chrysanthemums. The dahlias that I thought had died in the first frost rebounded and still have blooms on them. A pot of petunias and some rejuvenated pansies add some color, and the blanket flowers around the mailbox are blooming strong. One addition I am planning for next year’s garden is a New England aster. It will add some purple to go with all the yellow flowers common this time of year.

Even the weather has cooperated so far. There have been several light frosts but the temperature quickly warms up. By this time last year, there was snow on the ground and it stuck around until May. This year has had temperatures at or slightly above normal. Any precipitation that will fall for the next week will be liquid and not solid.

Another round of raking, shredding and bagging awaits. Give your special someone a meaningful hug and try to get outside and play in the leaves. You might be moved to think “What a de-leaf it is!”

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