As far as the eye can see


And for the first time in years. Thanks to early frosts, the Norway maple leaves on the front hellstrip, which normally I loathe even more at this time of year because of their reluctance to change color or drop, have obligingly turned rusty and fallen off, so we can set them out for city composting. 

There's a sidewalk in there somewhere.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I hate Norway Maples with a passion! We actually called in the troops over the summer and had my neighbor’s 7 Norway Maples that were threatening my roof cut so far back that when they drop their branches, they won’t fall on my roof. That felt really good! Anyway, what’s left of them are losing their leaves early this year, too. Yay!

  2. Leaf pick up time in the city. What a mess. Everyone wants their leaves picked up RIGHT NOW. All leaves do not fall at the same time. So, if your street gets picked up by city crew today, and your trees don’t drop until next week, it may be another month before they come back. Suppose to pile your leaves on the curb stirp. That will kill the precious grass. So they pile it in the street. Where it clogs the storm sewers. Landscape companies, to save a buck dump their leaves (from out side the city) along the street for the city to handle. This is the last year for our public composting area because of commercial landscapers using it. It is suppose to be a service for residents only. (So why don’t they make it bigger and really composte?) None of my leaves make it to the curb. Nor my neighbor’s. They go to my compost pile.

  3. I have a variety of hardwoods around my property that are dropping leaves like crazy right now. I usually leave them, but I need mulch this year and don’t want to buy another truckload. My solution? My ten year old daughter is “raking” them up with the mulching push mower and dumping them on my flower beds. Less work and more allowance for her, great mulch for me.

    I’ll be driving around town the next few days picking up bags of leaves that people are putting out because our city does not compost yard waste.

  4. I’m collecting leaves from the neighbors by default and by design. The wind patterns & “privacy trees” in the neighborhood make my backyard the receiver of all of my own leaves & at least half of those of the 5 closest neighbors ( can tell ’cause they all planted different trees). That’s not enough for my mulching needs, so my daughter & I often rake the neighbor’s front yards just so we can have their leaves, too.

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