Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Reviewing The Joys And Uses Of Autumn/Fall Leaves

Autumn/Fall Leaves

I appreciate all the seasons and I love the time of year when the leaves start to change colour. Although the vibrant colours of the beautiful spring and summer flowers are now a fond memory, Autumn leaves are equally gorgeous. 

I love to see all the different colours and when you look more closely all the diverse shapes and textures of the leaves. Underfoot if it's dry they feel scrunchy and if it's wet they are all slippery.

When the wind blows you can hear the rustle of the dry leaves and some get caught up and fly higher into the sky like wild confetti! 

In the Fall/Autumn season we are treated to the stunning show of reds, golds, bronze and russets to lift our spirits as the days grow colder and shorter. I do have happy memories of Autumn that stay with me always.

There are many beautiful and lasting memories that can be made at this time of year between children and their parents or grandparents and I wanted to highlight some of the uses and joys to appreciate this season's beautiful falling leaves.

There is nothing quite like standing under a large tree when its leaves are changing color to golds and reds gazing up at the sky as the sun is streaming through, it is truly a magical experience.


Autumn/Fall With Children

This time of year always raises memories of my childhood. My parents always encouraged a love of the outdoors and Autumn always evokes memories as a child walking through deep rifts of crunchy leaves holding hands with my Mum and Dad kicking up the leaves, having fun!

We collected leaves of all shapes, colours and sizes to press, make into a picture and learn about. To succeed in this process on a basic level all you need is tissue paper and a very heavy book. Simply lay the leaf between 2 layers of tissue paper then place in the middle of a heavy book, close and leave. Before very long you will have beautifully preserved leaves. If you wish to learn more about leaf and flower pressing this book is a great starting point to learn how to create really lovely personalised art from simple leaves and flowers.

The Art of Pressed Flowers and Leaves


For younger children dried leaves can be laid down on white paper, the outline drawn and then coloured or painted in whatever authentic or imagined colours they like!

Autumn leaves are so beautiful to paint and also to take photographs of. They have amazing colours and shapes and are always interesting for the artist. Such gorgeous rich colours and moods to capture. 

When older children are involved in looking at and experiencing nature in this way it is then very educational to teach children about the different leaves and which trees they come from. 

This gorgeous book is a wonderful resource, beautiful, visual and well organised to teach children about leaves, trees, seeds, flowers and so much more to encourage an interest in and appreciation of nature.


Trees, Leaves, Flowers and Seeds: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Plant Kingdom




Children and adults can enjoy making a collage of beautiful shapes and colours together from collected Autumn leaves.

As a child, I did this activity throughout Autumn with my parents and it was an enjoyable craft in the long dark evenings.

 All we need is a large sheet of paper, a safe means of adhering them to the paper and dried pressed leaves. The only limits are our imagination!




Making Leaf Mould For The Garden

I heard a neighbour say the other day how he would like this time of year if it wasn't for the leaves falling. I was surprised to hear this as I always see this time of year as a bounty! Fallen Leaves are a great harvest for me. Each year I eagerly wait in anticipation for the leaves to change colour and then fall. My task is then to gather them all up to make gorgeous leaf mold.

I make it by first raking up all the leaves on a dry day, then I set the mower blades on the highest setting and give a gentle mow over to break them down into smaller pieces. This helps to speed up the process. Next, I either place the leaves into black bags or a simple chicken wire crate.

If they are in black bags I make holes with a fork for drainage.  If it is not raining I water them and place them out of sight around the back of the garage. This is so easy to do and I simply wait a year and then I have lovely crumbly free leaf mold to mix in with potting compost and use freely on our beds and borders!


Autumn/Fall Leaves And Wildlife

We can all enjoy the fall leaves but we should not forget about our wildlife. I always leave piles of leaves around in the borders of the garden in sheltered places so as not to be destroyed by strong winds. If we add large or medium-sized logs or piles of sticks that assist wildlife even more by providing protective cover.

Over the years I have seen blackbirds kicking these piles of leaves around to find dinner beneath, hedgehogs taking the leaves to another place getting ready for their winter hibernation, or even deciding that the pile itself will make a cosy home!

There are also all the unseen bugs, creatures and minibeasts who will inhabit the leaf pile to make it their home and find some winter comfort there. 


So just a few examples of how we and our garden creatures can enjoy and use this bountiful resource that is the fallen Autumn/Fall leaves. How do you enjoy Autumn/Fall leaves?   



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13 comments:

  1. I had forgotten how many uses there are for Autumn leaves. Making leaf mold is something my grandmother used to do each fall for her large gardens. And I had forgotten all about the fun of pressing flowers. Fun reminders of both the beauty and joy of Autumn leaves and the practical applications they can be put to. Thanks, Annie.

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    1. Yes I always see the Autumn leaves as another harvest! It is possible to make leaf mould for large and small gardens, you just need somewhere to store the bags or wire crate somewhere out the way. I have such happy memories of pressing leaves and flowers with my Mum, something to treasure.

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  2. What a beautifully written article about fall and the gorgeous leaves. Your love of nature is quite evident. We mow our leaves in order to add their nutrients back to the soil, but I have never gathered them in a bag to use as part of our mulch. What a wonderful idea! I love the fall colors and often bring a few leaves inside to display in a bowl. I have fond memories of my own children tracing around them to make fall pictures. I can't identify as many trees by their leaves as my parents can. I would certainly find that encyclopedia beneficial.

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    1. Thank you Sylvestermouse! I do love nature :) I am glad you liked the idea of gathering leaves to make leaf mould. I love Fall colours too and they are wonderful for decorating our homes in Autumn. That is lovely your children enjoyed Fall leaves too, what a great memory! Yes its a fun and educational activity to identify trees, my Mum was always really good at that and loved teaching me! Happy memories...

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  4. Well Raintree Annie, you certainly have covered a lot of bases with your review. I love that you mulch the leaves for your garden and save some piles for the birds, bees and other wildlife that need winter protection. Free is always great in my book and this is one of the best "freebies" around. I hope everyone takes your advice too!

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    1. Thank you! Yes love freebies for the garden too :) Wildlife really do need our help in winter so if we can have a few piles of leaves around it is a real boost to them.

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  5. Autumn is my favorite time of the year! I love the beauty of the fall leaves. Thank you for a wonderful article on all of the great things to do with fall leaves.

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    1. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year.There is nothing quite like the beauty of the leaves. I am so glad you enjoyed the article.

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  6. Jasmine, like you, I adore seeing the leaves change color in the autumn. Living in New England, we usually get quite a beautiful display, and a "leaf peeping" drive is high on our list of favorite fall traditions. One of my husband's favorite gifts is a dark green sweatshirt that I embellished with a cascade of autumn leaves diagonally across the chest in metallic acrylic paints sponged in overlapping coppers, golds, reds, etc. I just told him about your suggestion for making leaf mold (which I hadn't heard of), and Mouse's method of mowing the leaves directly into the lawn, both of which he liked very much (he's the gardener in the family!). And while I've never pressed leaves, I have pressed flowers many times. My favorite way to use them so far has been to apply small, delicate, dried flowers to candles (with melted paraffin). They're beautiful!

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  7. Yes I have heard the Autumn display in New England is stunning! Love the idea of a "Leaf Peeping" drive!! Your hubby's sweatshirt sounds amazing and I like your idea of dried flowers on candles, I wonder if it would work with leaves too? You are very talented! Glad you and your husband liked the idea of making leaf mold :)

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  8. Autumn is my favorite time of the year as well. So beautiful. Crisp, fresh air. The changing seasons are part of our DNA here - I couldn't imagine living in a place that didn't offer different seasons. I enjoyed your reivew - that book as well on the leaves would make a lovely gift for the holidays.

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  9. Thank you!I am glad you enjoyed my review of Autumn leaves. Autumn is a beautiful time of year and I agree the changing of the seasons is something to cherish. I think books about nature make wonderful gifts too!

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