The driveway and stone paths have been cleared of leaves so that holiday visitors can make their way around the garden if weather allows. Leaves are shredded and distributed to cover bare soil, while most are left whole to decay by mid spring if they are not covering low growing shrubs. Oversized leaves from the Bigleaf magnolia and neighbors’ sycamores clog the shredder, so only those that accumulate in deep piles to cover the winter flowering hellebores will be removed.
The maples and tulip poplars in the forest that borders the garden are nearly bare after several breezy days, and only a few Japanese maples (below), dogwoods, and witch hazels remain with autumn leaf color. These are trees that turn late in season, and often hold red or yellow foliage into mid December.
Deep burgundy leaves of Oakleaf hydrangeas (above) persist into January, though a delay in spraying the deer repellent resulted in the loss of many lower branches of hydrangeas along the forest’s edge. No long term harm has been done, with this reminder that even when they are not seen, deer are ever present in the garden. Now, broadleaf evergreen camellias and Japanese aucubas have been treated with repellent to discourage deer foraging through the winter months.