Thursday, November 13, 2014
Simple Suggestion # 219... Let sleeping plants lie
Well, yes and no. Yes, in that I refuse to cut my plants down to the ground in the autumn -- but that's because I know that perennials fare better through the year's cold seasons if they are protected by last summer's decomposing growth. No, in that it all gets cleaned up in the spring when it's not so necessary for protecting my bushes and bulbs through the winter.
Raking autumn leaves out of my flower beds is also something I won't do because they are free, natural mulch. The layer of detritus that so many people pack up and toss makes a good winter home for numerous beneficial insects like ground beetles and the cheery little lady bugs that get rid of nasty, plant eating aphids and others of their ilk. Until heavy snow cover arrives, birds are always poking around in the mulch looking for a bite, and our local jack rabbits often nibble their way through. The chickadees, grosbeaks and nuthatches pick grains from the seed heads that they like, and play hide and seek in the stuff that's still standing. Of course, if you don't like nature paying you visits, it's best to get rid of all those plant leftovers. (Don't forget the benefits of winter composting, though!)
So if you didn't get your yard cleaned up before the first snowfall, fret not. You're only gardening like God does (going back to #3 of these Simple Suggestions), and actually doing your garden and its creatures a favour!
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