There is something about autumn
That brings out such earthiness
Gold leaves adorn bushes and trees
Like an artist with a brilliant brush…
Oh yes, I love those golden days
Dreamy with autumn’s glow
It makes me smile because I do
Love the season of autumn so!
~ Marilyn Lott
Fall is indeed my favourite time of year. One can still enjoy the fruits of the year’s gardening efforts without the heavy workload. As a wildlife-friendly gardener, I leave most of my cleanup for spring so that birds can enjoy seed heads and overwintering butterflies can be safe amongst plant stems. There is some work in raking leaves off the lawn for composting, but at least one gets to first enjoy their wonderful colours.
These same leaves provide great habitat for many creatures, including the blue-spotted salamander. Check out this season’s feature creature for more information on this fascinating amphibian.
Though many lament the passing of hot summer days, the crisp chill of a sunny autumn day is invigorating, even if it warns of icy weather to come. It is a great time to get out and enjoy nature when bothersome insects have gone and there is the chance of spotting unusual birds as they migrate through.
To support some of our migrating and overwintering birds, it helps to plant a variety of food sources, including those that provide fruit. This can bring a greater diversity of birds to your garden. Our feature plant this season is the highbush cranberry, which, though not necessarily a bird’s first choice, is nonetheless an important food source during the harsh winter season. As an added bonus, this plant adds year-round interest to gardens.
If you are a West Coast gardener or just like discovering the fascinating diversity of our native plants, be sure to read our nursery profile. It describes a wonderful native plant nursery near Chilliwack, British Columbia, along with tips for wildlife gardeners.
Our feature garden this season is a great inspiration to those who are gardening despite a variety of challenges. It also provides examples of plants and projects that have helped to entice a diversity of pollinators, birds and other wildlife to make the Ontario property home.
One of the great things about the fall is that it includes Hallowe’en, always a favourite holiday. This spooky time of year always brings to mind bats. While bats are incredibly beneficial to have around, they are not so great if they are living in your house. Our guest column this fall is written by someone who has lots of experience dealing with bats. He has written a book on the subject and provides lots of useful information and advice, both in our guest column and in the book. Whether you want to provide habitat for bats or deal with a home invasion, it is an interesting read.