Put down the rake and refold your paper leaf bags, because it is too early to clean up your garden!

Many property owners do not realize that beneficial insects and bees spend the winter sheltering in the debris left behind in the fall; the fallen leaves and leftover stalks provide a safe shelter for the insects we need to pollinate our gardens. When these creatures are disturbed too early they die. I think we have enough death and destruction in the world without further decimating the insect population. Do you really want to be the Putin of gardening?

Please do not clean up your gardens until the temperature has been 50 degrees day and night for a week. Please, or I may be forced to take away your rake. “In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.” (Douglas W. Tallamy)

While I am on the subject – reduce the size of archaic status symbol that surrounds your house, aka the lawn. Lawns are an environmental desert that do not support any insects or birds. We can start to save the world if we: 1. “leave the leaves” in the fall, 2. plant native species, 3. plant more oak trees, 4. let your garden sleep in the spring and 5. get rid of your lawn. (And drop something heavy on the aforementioned Putin.)

Barbara Dee
South Portland