I was thinking today, while I was outside raking up more leaves during my lunchbreak, of the varied benefits of collecting these growing piles of autumn leaves. The first, of course, is that these slowly accumulating piles will make great mulch for the garden beds.
My parents recently gifted me some compost bins from their garden, which I was very much in need of as my tumble bin is currently full. Once I figure out where to put these (preferably somewhere sunny to help the decomposition process with warmth), they will be filled with the growing piles of leaves; the rest will continue to be spread across the existing garden beds.
Another benefit is exercise – gardening, whether it’s raking or clearing out ivy and other weeds, is one of my two favourite types of exercise (the other is hiking). Raking up and moving piles of leaves does actually require some physical effort, so I try and switch hands so I’m giving both arms the benefit of this workout.
I’m also getting to know the garden more as I work. I can check to see if there are any more bulbs emerging, I check on the ripening citrus fruit, and I stop and look up at the branches of the apple and pear trees, making mental notes and maps of the pruning work ahead.
This also brings me to yet another benefit – meditation. Last week I took an extra 15 minutes and just sat under the trees, enjoying the sounds of the birds and the peace around me. I’d been feeling stressed before I headed out in the garden, but I could feel it slowly fading away as I sat there (and believe me, I realise how lucky I am that I work from home and can spend my lunchbreaks like this).
I also took some photos of the tree branches above me, silhouetted against the clear sky, while I sat out there. I’ve included them throughout this post – I hope you enjoy them.