Saturday, November 15, 2014

NOT The Way To Do Autumn Clean Up

The claim is, it's more efficient to pluck autumn
leaves off trees one by one, rather than raking them up later.  
I'll admit it's a fair amount of work getting your yard in order in the autumn.

You need to rake up the leaves, empty the planters, cut back the frost-bitten perennials, mulch the cold-sensitive plants and put the gardens to bed. It's quite a task.

That said, I don't think the House of Commons in London quite has the knack for efficient autumn clean-up, to put it mildly.

According to the Guardian, a gardener was ordered to remove yellow leaves, one by one, from a circle of lime trees on the Commons rather than raking them up once they fall. 

The logic is pretty, um creative.

Parliamentary authorities claim asking the gardener to remove leaves manually from the trees is have defended their decision to ask a gardener to remove each leaf manually from trees because it's more efficient than raking them up.


It must take forever to remove leaves from trees one by one. Raking can be done in even a large yard in one afternoon. And don't landscaping companies in England have leaf blowers? Judging from the size of the yard where they're picking leaves off the trees, it looks like a two or three hour job to remove leaves once they've fallen off the trees.

I also noticed that despite the gardener's efforts, a number of leaves had already fallen onto the grounds. Somebody's going to rake them up anyway.

But a Commons spokesman doubled down, says the Guardian:

"If we waited for the leaves to fall off it would waste a lot of time raking them up. It is more time efficient."

"It is not possible to separate the cost of removing leaves from the trees in New Palace Yard from the wider cost of the gardening contract. The leaves are removed each winter as a more time-efficient alternative to raking fallen leaves."

Um, wouldn't raking leaves just be part of one big gardening contract? Most landscapers and gardeners I know either charge by the hour, or sign a contract for one season to do all the necessary yard work, including raking leaves.

An alternative explanation makes a little more sense

Here's a report from the BBC:

"Gardener Annabel Honeybun told The Daily Telegraph that the procedure was necessary. 

'I am not picking leaves off the trees,' she said. 'I am cutting them individually down to the second bud so they keep their shape.'

'I wouldn't pick leaves off. These lime trees are so old and they have not been 'pleached' for years, so we have to keep their shape.' " 

Pleached? I have never heard that gardening term before, at least in terms of leaves. And I am a gardener, though I admit I'm not the world's leading gardening expert.

I know pleaching refers to interweaving branches and vines for a hedge or arbor. 

Although all the media in Britain have covered this story, it almost seems like a hoax to me. I love the name of the gardener: Annabel Honeybun.

And I can't believe anyone would be so stupid as to remove leaves by hand.

But then, humans have always found creative new ways to be truly bizarre, so there you go.

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