When my plants and flowers start to die back and the urge to cut them down and throw them in the compost starts, I resist and leave almost everything standing. Why? Primarily because it provides food and shelter for critters of all kinds during the fall and winter months, but it’s also quite beautiful to look at when the landscape is bleak (a patch of frosted plants with the sunlight shining on it is stunning).
Birds of all kind will go crazy for sunflower heads. They grow very easily and you can even save a few seed heads for the winter months. Just cut them when they’re dry and store them where rodents won’t get to them (I use a small metal garbage can in the garage). Come winter, tie them someplace you can see from the house and watch the birds go crazy!
Probably my favorite garden visitors are the birds that come through and quite often stay for the winter (sorry about the blurry photo above – it’s from last year and he kept bouncing the sunflower). They add life to the garden in all seasons and I love that I can do something small that helps them a bit. I also try and provide water, but keeping it ice free can be tough.
Echinacea (above) and the yucca seeds at the top of the post are magnets in my garden for finches.
I admit the fennel can get a bit out of hand when left to stand, but they’re fairly easily managed with a bit of weeding and if something else that’s fun sprouts (like the echinacea), I pot them up to share with friends.
And heres a link to the Audubon Society… They have a wealth of birding information if you’d like to ID any of the little guys nibbling your seed…
So whats your garden strategy? Do you cut and compost first thing or do you let them stand?
Happy gardening everyone!