In our region, we tend to concentrate more on our gardens in the spring and fall because we enjoy being outdoors in the good weather with family and friends. But lets keep in mind that fall is a very important time of the year to focus on providing enough food for the wildlife in your habitat garden as they prepare for the cold winter ahead. Each season of the year has its own beauty, and here at Habitat-Landscapes, we enjoy the vibrant red, yellow and orange colors of fall as we help wildlife.
We need to be sure there are no gaps in the food supply for the wildlife we have already attracted to our garden. Adding additional native shrubs, and flowering plants to your habitat garden will ensure that there are plenty of seeds and nectar available for birds, bees and butterflies to feed on continuously. For example, instead of dead-heading flowers, let them go to seed - the birds will appreciate the additional food. Plant a few autumn blooming flowers like Fall Aster, a perennial that will continue to bloom every fall for years to come, attracting cute bees and butterflies. Birds also love to eat the seeds of native grasses. Early in fall, nectar is especially important for monarch butterflies, who need to tank up for their long journey south, so please make sure you have plenty of milkweed for them! A combination of early, middle and late blooming species will fuel butterfly and bird breeding and migration all year long.
Think about also adding native berries and fruits to your garden. Not only will they add a splash of bright color to your habitat garden, but will also attract birds and give them an additional source of food. The berries of Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum, and the fruits of Brown Turkey Fig, remain on the tree for months and supply food for birds.
Remember to also keep your bird bath filled with fresh water during the winter months, and don’t forget, a little mess is good for the garden. A pile of leaves, branches and wood can provide shelter and protection for small wildlife. When the winter is approaching, keep your bird feeder filled and leave a few treats out for the rest of wildlife. Make your garden their favorite supermarket!