gcrfd wreathMIDDLETOWN, NJ - Here they come ~ leaves, leaves, glorious leaves!   Please don't shove them into bags that are bound for trash pickup or will be taken to recycling by township trucks. Dead leaves (pure organic matter) only come around once a year and they're extremely beneficial for your yard and garden. If that’s what you did this year, read on and change your ways. If you haven’t dealt with your leaves yet, read on and move to use your leaves in a way that is better.

So, what should we do with our lovely leaves? The simplest thing to do is to go over them with your mower or toss them into a shredder. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will decompose. Then use the leaf confetti to cover your flowerbeds and other parts of your garden where they will become part of your soil.

Cover your perennial plants with a protective cover of shredded leaves. Cover the root zone of your plants but do not pile them up against the trunks. And please wait until your ground is hard, before blanketing your perennials.

If you have a compost pile, feed it with your dead fall leaves. Dried leaves are a carbon source that you should balance (at the same time, if possible) with nitrogen materials like plant clippings, and/or grass clippings. Herbivore manure is also a good nitrogen source. A blend of the carbon and nitrogen results in great compost.

Remember to value and use your wonderful falling leaves. It is Mother Nature at work for you and your garden. Give her a helping hand.

Learning how leaves can be used is just one part of gardening that you might learn about as a member of Garden Club RFD in Middletown. Another area that is covered is floral design and taking part in flower shows. On December 8, 2015, you may visit with us at the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street where we will have a small standard flower show whose theme is “A Garden of Holiday Music”. That’s the December holidays, of course.

After morning judging by Garden Club of New Jersey Flower Show Judges, the show will be opened to the public from 1:30-4:30 p.m. for viewing. There is no cost. December is the perfect time for a flower show where your eyes will delight in seeing what we cannot grow outside our homes right now. It also helps to usher in the winter holiday season. Join us to begin the season in the right way.

The design portion will contain creative and traditional holiday designs along with festive wreaths while specimens such as holly, evergreens and indoor houseplants will be exhibited in

the horticultural portion of the show. Contact Tanya Ashuck at 732-641-2662 for more information.

We are open to new members who would like to expand their knowledge of flowers and the garden and enjoy a discussion with women and men who have similar likes. Call June Smith at 732-671-9216, our Membership Chair, to ask questions or to tell her that you are interested and want to come to a meeting. The January meeting will feature learning about Propagation and getting ready for next year’s garden. Learning the various methods to propagate your plants really doubles nature’s gifts.

We are a member of the Garden Club of New Jersey that is part of the Central Atlantic Region of the National Garden Club.