Tidying Up Your Fall Garden

"Step away from the leaf blower. What the heck are you doing?!?"

I walked into the yard just in time to see my husband clutching a leaf blower menacingly. He'd already trimmed back the Rudbeckia and Echinacea.

"Noooooooo!!! The pollinators need those things!!!"

Before I could teach Jeff what Liz had recently taught me about fall garden tidying, the damage was done. 

He didn't know. But YOU can know.🌱🐝🌍

"One of the most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need."- Xerces Society

The Xerces Society article goes on to say...

..."It may be habitual, a matter of social conditioning, or a holdover of outdated gardening practices from yesteryear—but for whatever reason, we just can’t seem to help ourselves from wanting to tidy up the garden at the end of the season—raking, mowing, and blowing away a bit of nature that is essential to the survival of moths, butterflies, snails, spiders, and dozens of arthropods."​

So before you grab a leaf blower, here's what you need to know. 

Liz's Fall Tidying Tips

Leaving your native garden in place through winter can have many benefits. Those purple coneflower seeds continue to feed birds and there are likely many species over-wintering in the foliage and stems.

If you do feel the need to tidy up, you can follow these steps and maintain your garden's function:
  • Chop large stems to 18 inches or so and let the debris fall to the ground. Stems left upright will hold fallen leaves in place during high winds, they will also limit heavy matted areas that can cause plant die-off. And, of course, they are potential nesting spots the coming season for native bees, 🐝
  • Tidy the edges and let the rest be wild. Tidy borders can do wonders for improving readability by you and your neighbors. Sweep sidewalks, trim and weed as needed to give that 👋 "don't worry, I got this" appearance. 
  • Cut trimmings from small trees and shrubs into smaller pieces and they can be used as mulch to cover pathways.
  • Line walkways with larger trimmed branches to create structure and a stylized bit of garden art. Many insects can use the craggy bark of large limbs or a pile of branches as nesting material.🌳
  • Remove any of those unwanted species that blew in the previous growing season (before their seed ripens if possible). Let things like Canada goldenrod flower and feed the bees & butterflies but, if you don't want more sprouting up next year, here's what to do. Get out there and trim the top of the plant after the flower fades. You can bring your cuttings into the house for a fall bouquet.🏡

Violá! The life-changing magic of tidying up the garden. Marie Kondo would approve. 

xo - Jane (and Liz)

Important Updates

3 things for ya...

Thing 1: More native gardening classes coming up! Go to this page for the schedule and to get a free class, "Habitat Gardening for Pollinators". 

Thing 2: The nursery is closed for the season. 

Thing 3: Consultations - wowza! You guys are booking garden consults like crazy. If you want one before the snow starts to fly, please REPLY to this email and let us know so we can update you on availability. There is still time!

happy customer with her native plants

Last delivery of the season! Thanks Debbie & happy autumn.

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