Leaf right now

Col­lect up all that dead fo­liage ly­ing around your yard and put it to good use, writes Mary Lovell-smith.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Gardening -

OR­NA­MEN­TALS

• Gather up leaves, es­pe­cially from paths, lawns and ponds, and add to com­post or keep sep­a­rate to make leaf mould.

• Plant out win­ter bed­ding. Nurs­eries and gar­den cen­tres should have a good range now – if you haven’t grown your own from seed, that is.

• Di­vide and re­plant hostas. These are grown pretty much for their beau­ti­ful fo­liage – large, ribbed leaves, which are mar­bled, striped or edged with white (the gen­er­ally li­lac flow­ers are pretty enough but in­signif­i­cant). Hostas need damp yet well-drained soil.

MOSS

• Re­move moss (and liv­er­wort, lichen and al­gae) from where it is not wanted. While it gives charm and character to tim­ber, stone, con­crete walls, stat­ues and sculp­ture, it can make paths slip­pery. Moss usu­ally ap­pears in damp, shady spots.

• Spray­ing is an op­tion for those who favour chem­i­cal con­trol, but all this does is kill it and turn it an ugly brown. Far bet­ter to scrape it off while it is green, than spray it and then have to scrape it off. • Dis­cour­age moss from grow­ing in the first place. Reg­u­lar brush­ing of hard sur­faces with a stiff broom, rak­ing of shin­gle ar­eas and fork­ing over of soil will help keep it at bay, as will im­prov­ing drainage of af­fected ar­eas by dig­ging chan­nels. Build hard fea­tures on a slight slope to aid run off, and/or use por­ous paving ma­te­ri­als. • Chicken wire on wooden paths and bridges in shady spots, or coarse sand on paths over win­ter will make them less slip­pery. • Re­mem­ber, mosses and their kin are, evo­lu­tion­ary-wise, way older than any other plants and very im­por­tant in ecosys­tems. Many in your gar­den will be na­tive, which makes them ex­tra pre­cious (and en­ter­tain­ing to try to iden­tify). •

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