I honestly have a love hate relationship with this time of year. As we ooh and aah at the stunning autumn colours, those brown and golden leaves, which look so nice on the trees, are just about to be all over my garden. Leaves are a darned nuisance at this time of year. They clog my gutters, the make my patio slippery and ruin the lawn. My mother will invite me over every weekend, where she will do her best “frail” act, and ask me to scoop the leaves out of her pond (without catching the fish) and sweep her path. Of course I do it, begrudgingly, while cursing my brother for living so far away.
This year I am very tempted just to get a huge debris net and cover both her garden and mine, and then I will only have to clear them up once a week, or once a fortnight if I were lucky. Oh if only life were that simple.
Now we all know that I do love my gadgets, however there are surprisingly few options when it comes to leaf removal.
Rake and barrow – The “old skool” solution, hard work and only any good if your garden is the size of a postage stamp. After you have raked up all your leaves, you need to use a leaf grabber, which are like gigantic plastic scoops which you attach to your hands like gloves. If that wasn’t enough to contemplate, ideally you will need to be retired, so that you can pick a day when the leaves are at least partially dry!
Hand held Blower/Vacs – Much more fun than a rake (for the first 20 mins) basically a high powered hair dryer which directs a mini tornado at the leaves. With a bit of practice you can blow them into heaps. Then you have to scream at it for about another 20 mins to turn it from a blower to a vacuum to hoover up the leaves. The advantage is that the rotating fan creating the suction is also a blade, so all the leaves get chopped into tiny pieces, making them much easier to throw into the “Green Bin” or compost heap. The benefit of these are that they are easy to store and relatively cheap. You can pick one up from most DIY Garden Centres for about £60. Yes, you can get cheaper ones, all I can say is don’t. Spend a bit more and buy one with some oomph, you will regret it if you don’t.
Industrial Garden Vacuums – I look at these machines, almost lustfully. They look rather like a lawn mower, however rather than simply cutting the grass, they suck up all the leaves and rubbish in the garden. Some even have mini debris shredders attached. There are 2 issues with these though. First is the cost. At about £630 for the smallest version to over £3,000 for the biggest they are not cheap. Secondly there is the issue of storage. Given that the gigantic leaf falling season is actually only about 6 weeks long, it is rather an expensive item to have sitting in your shed, untouched for the next 46 weeks of the year.
Alternatively if you are a green fingered gardener you could always take some advice from Gardeners World or read this article on making Leaf Mould to create an organic mulch to give your flowers and soil an extra boost.