hauling leaves, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest

Extreme Mulching

Parks Department vacuuming leaves
photo by SVSeekins

Last year the Parks department hauled away the big leaf pile from in front of my house. They vacuumed all the leaves off Richard’s boulevard, too.

I was happy about it, but Richard had wanted to keep his leaves.

Instead of grass, Richard has planted his boulevard with drought-tolerant decoratives.

leaf pile along Richmond Rd
photo by SVSeekins

A thick layer of mulch protects against drought in summer, as well as insulating from the cold in winter. Leaves make great mulch, so Richard had intentionally raked his leaves onto the boulevard garden.

I suppose that because most of the perennials had died back for the season, and because Richard had raked the leaves so thickly onto the boulevard, the garden bed was obscured. The vacuum guys must ‘ve thought it was just another curbside pick up.

This year Richard was in his yard when the Parks truck came by. They were thrilled to hear he was making good use of his leaves. Then they asked, “Would you like some more?”

leaf mulch - from above
photo by Judy Atkinson

Richard was in heaven! For mulch, leaves are great, but chopped up leaves are superb.

Better still is a big truck delivering them – – free!

It was a win-win.

  • The vacuum guys saved themselves a trip across town to unload.
  • Richard got free mulch – – 2 big truckloads of it!

A couple of years ago, Richard had a dirt-mart deliver a couple of truckloads of mulch (about the same amount). It cost $800.

I’m told the Parks Department accepts requests for leaves, and are happy to schedule a drop off when they’re vacuuming in the neighbourhood.

A shared task makes lighter work
photo by Judy Atkinson

Of course, there’s still the chore of moving it all from the driveway & into the beds. That’s a whole lot of wheel barrel trips.

Indeed, a big task is less daunting when shared with friends. It was fun to pitch in. It was also excellent exercise. 🙂

As long as I’ve known Richard as a gardener, he’s never been shy about mulching the beds.  It always looks a little thick to me.

mulching the boulevard
photo by Judy Atkinson

Over a couple months, the heavy rains will compact all that mulch down. The spring bulbs will be shooting through it. I’m really looking forward to seeing that.

But for now, I’m thinking of calling Parks for myself.

Is that crazy?

© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

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10 thoughts on “Extreme Mulching”

    1. 🙂 With that much mulch sitting on the driveway you HAVE to go thick! It all be spread out on the beds before the Grey Cup this Sunday?

  1. Oh my lord, you mean in Victoria, you just have to rake the leaves & then the City comes & sucks them all up for you?? Homeowners don’t have to bag it? My neighbourhood in Edmonton could definitely use that service.

    1. I’m guessing that the city started picking up the excess leaves about the same time as banning backyard burning… Does anyone else know the answer to that?
      C reminisces about the smell of burning leaves in fall when he was a little kid.
      As for the piles instead of bags…. It really depends on how much is in one’s yard. I’ve seen a couple yards package their leaves into bags – – but it only amounted to a couple bags. (Belief it or not, I know folks that troll the streets for bagged leaves – – taking them back to their own yards for mulch) Yes, Richard is one of those folks. 🙂
      I imagine the bags are a bit of a pain in the butt for the Parks trucks, plugging up the vacuum or chipper… and ruining the finished product…. perhaps i’ll need to talk with Parks & get the real scoop… hmmm possibly another blog topic?

  2. Correction from the subject of article:

    My boulevard is extremely dry as three large trees tower overhead. I had to amend the clay and sandy soil. Four years ago I started to heavily mulch it with leaves every fall. I went and planted some ferns and a couple rhodo’s – nothing drought resistant. I have drip irrigation in my entire yard and boulevard. In the summer we only water for 45 minutes once a week – equivalent to one inch of rain a week.

    This was our first summer with huge positive identifiable results. The growth of the ferns is a testament to the positive results of heavy mulching. The growth can be attributed to the mulching, as for a comparison, other ferns elsewhere are not doing well as I have not given their area heavy mulch yet.

    Further information about mulching can be found in what I call the “mulching bible”:
    “The Organic Way to Mulching”, Published by Rodale Press. ISBN: 0-87857-009-8, copyright 1971.



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