Sunday, 28 October 2012

Autumn Maple

  So it's Autumn, for the originators my 62 British pageviews this past month.  30 might call it Fall while 152 would call it Herbst (according to Google, at any rate).  It's bloody cold after what weather reporters called "Freezing Friday", which to me just conjures an epic yet PG-rated quest being undertaken by a polar bear, a puffin, and one very lost penguin.  All of them singing jaunty songs about snow and things that rhyme with snow, which thirty years later prompts heated (but largely esoteric and thus widely ignored) debates as to whether the word "Eskimo" is racist.

But I digress...

  The big maple growing through the roof of the Strawbrary is having its annual shed.  I've not yet managed to get a photo which includes the entire tree - Google Earth notwithstanding - so suffice it to say the thing puts down enough leaves each Autumn that the garden becomes effectively cushioned.  Any deeper and I'd have the cast of Jackass wanting to fling Wee Man off the roof in a Superman cape.  Ordinarily I'd just leave them to rot over the Winter, but this year is different:  this year I'm getting a brew on!
The fallen leaves thus far - and it's only the start of the shedding - are scraped up into a plastic bin.  

Once it's filled, pressed down and filled again (because leaves trap a lot of air!) I poured three litres of water over the top of the leaves, replaced the lid and weighted it on with a stone.  

That'll rot down over the coming year.  The resultant liquid - known as leaf tea - can be diluted to one cup of the tea into a watering can of water for use as a high nitrogen feed for the lawn and other nitrogen-hungry plants.  The leaves which wouldn't fit into the bin can be mulched directly onto the lawn.  

In other decomposition news, the compost is coming along nicely.  Some berk put bread in it though, which is doing nothing so much as turn blue.  I must remember to pop round to Nathan's house for some horse manure.  

And I found this leaf in my bean patch.  It's not the Vicia faba that I planted, and nor is it anything that I've seen in this garden before.  It's of a firm, rubbery texture.  My hand is in the shot, and for scale I wear size 7 gloves.

If anybody knows what in Earth that is, please comment below.  Ta muchly :)


  1. I've tweeted the link to see if my gardening friends can help. I'm not much of an expert on angiosperms... The bread will eventually rot down, but it'd be better to crumb it and freeze it, then make fat cakes for the birds with seeds and leftover fat from cooking.

    1. And with luck the fat cakes made from that bread will clear up any little infections that the birds might have.

    2. See, now I have visions of robins coughing and sneezing. This is amusing me more than it should.

      Twitter consensus appears to be Arum italicum with one being so bold as to suggest var. marmoratum. Since the seeds have red fleshy cases, I'd assume it was dropped by a bird (possibly post-digestion).

    3. An RHS AGM cultivar springs up as though from nowhere? The world is indeed a random place. Thanks :)