Eco-friendly gardening tip!
Many organisms over-winter in leaves and organic matter in your yard. These organisms emerge at very different times throughout the spring and summer, each in-sync with various flora bloom times of plants that their life cycle is tied to. So when you clear leaves and debris away, you're sending them off to the dump removing them from the food web (think baby bird food). Leave the "mess". It does a lot of work for you, including:
- slowing water flow to increase water infiltration into soil
- protects soil from moisture loss to wind and sun (free mulch!)
- breaks down to return nutrients to your soil (free fertilizer!)
Once enough people do this, the appearance will be normalized and more widely accepted. Try seeing the destructive side of shipping every leaf to the curb, and soon the sterile look will become very unattractive.
"But Deanna, I like the 'clean' look". So what can you do instead?
I suggest edging your garden beds. It gives a nice fresh pop and satisfies the urge to get in there first thing in the spring. It also gives the image of intention and tidyness, but without sacrificing the very ecosystem services we depend on. ...