I sure am enjoying the colourful view of my neighbour's crabapple, mountain ash tree and dogwood shrubs at the moment! I planted my own little Saskatoon shrubs this year which will add to the fall colour in a few years when they get to a more substantial size.
But while I am enjoying the beautiful colours, I am already scheming about what to do with those leaves after they've fallen. Each year at this time I wish I owned a shredder so I could chop them all up into little bits which would make even better mulch for the garden. But each year at this time I have already more than blown my gardening budget for the year. So I do not yet own a mulcher.
The leaves I do have, I rake onto the garden for the winter. I also check the local leaf drop off regularly and sometimes manage to snag some pre-chopped leaves to put on the garden! If not, I choose bags of small, curly leaves such as birch, which make better winter mulch than big flat leaves like poplar.
In any case, I certainly do not get rid of my own leaves! They are extremely useful for winter mulch and for adding nutrients to the garden. You may think you are being a good environmental citizen by taking your leaves to the drop off, but leaving them in the garden has a zero footprint and provides nutrients for your soil. So don't bag 'em unless you want to make leaf mold!
You can read about leaf mold and how I first got hooked on stealing leaves here:
And read more about the benefit of leaves on the garden here:
After the Party's Over on Garden Buzz