Friday, 26 October 2012

Fallen leaves, my nightmare

I am not so keen on raking the leaves and piles of walnut leaves are my autumn nightmare. Because of the warmth that last long into Autumn, the leaves slowly turn yellow and drop over a long period of time. Before these climate changes, by the end of October  the temperatures used to drop below zero. I remember the days when all the leaves fell of in one frosty night! I simply did all the job in one afternoon. 
Walnut leaves are not much useful as a compost ingredient
 or mulch because of the chemicals they contain. I have a permission to use a small triangle shaped ground behind my garden fence where I keep my compost boxes and pile up all the green waste from my garden. It is a secluded place bordered with thick Forsythia planting that serves as a screen between this very ground and the town park. It is also a place where I can pile up this walnut leaves. I usually spread it on the places where I do not want the weeds to take over. It takes up to 10 months for leaves to decoy and they suppress the weeds pretty efficiently. That is much better than burning them in a fire. In Croatia, we still are allowed to make bone-fires but I avoid it whenever I can because of the air pollution.

Physostegia is late to flower. It looked pretty more dead than alive the whole summer but, it came alive after the fist rains in September. The common name 'Obedient Plant' rises from the fact that the flowers can be bent on stems right or left. The plant spreads by means of rhizomes forming colonies. There are also cultivars with white flowers and this one of mine is called 'Vivid'.

This mushroom takes over when the nights are colder and the days still warm. It appeared in many orchards, gardens and woods on old tree stumps. It appeared (again!) in my garden too. I am not so happy because of it. This is Armiallaria mellea, the Honey Fungus. As parasite on dead and alive wood, it causes wood decoy and growth reduction. It can literally kill the tree.
 It looks nice, though, and it is also edible. Just needs to be pre-cooked in boiling water for a few minutes.


  1. I didn't know about the chemical properties of Walnut leaves. I wonder if you could infuse them in water and make a weedkiller, just like you can make a plant food from Comfrey?

  2. Unfortunately, this coctail will not kill the weed, Mark. You only got a brown dye useful to dye textile. Some compounds are investigated to have antibacterial properties.

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