Autumn is the time of year when some people tidy up their gardens until they resemble a barren wasteland. But cleanliness is not a virtue if it deprives wildlife of important habitat.
Flower seeds — such as sunflowers, or asters, to name a few — provide finches, and other seed-eating birds with the necessary nutrition to survive the winter. Moreover, their seed heads add interest to an otherwise bleak winter landscape.
Do you hate raking leaves, but don’t know what to do with Autumn’s bounty? Leaves are much too valuable to throw away. Try this instead: Use them as mulch around shrubs or in your vegetable garden; shred them and place them in your compost bin; or rake them into a corner of your garden.
A pile of leaves provides habitat for birds and moths and butterflies overwinter as pupae in leaf litter. Birds in turn rely on caterpillars to feed their young. The caterpillars that don’t get eaten will delight you as beautiful butterflies next summer.
Offering a leaf pile will endear you to ground-feeding birds who find not only shelter from the elements and predators during harsh winter weather, but also insects to sustain them.
These few easy steps will get you well on your way to turn your garden into a wildlife habitat.