Michigan native plants evolved with fire as a result of most of the state burning every 5-10 years in resettlement times. Fire returns nutrients to the soil, allows for more solar radiation to reach the ground which quickens spring green up, and can kill non native plants that did not evolved with fire. See this… Read more »
Just finished reading Thomas Rainer’s and Claudia West’s book, “Planting in a Post-Wild World”. Although it was written for designers and installers, there is plenty of useful information for the do-it-yourselfer. Highly recommended reading for the winter.
Leave up your perennials for the winter. Insects will overwinter in any that have hollow stems. The dense undercover provides places for things to hide. And leave up seed heads that are a source of food for birds.
Leave leaves in place to provide winter cover for myriad species of insects and small animals. Pictured here, leaves from various parts of my yard either fell here or were placed. Shown, beds of Wild Geranium and Columbine, Golden Alexanders and Blue Flag Iris, and Prairie Dropseed.
End of first year prairie planting I am doing on my neighbor’s property, gratis. There are nearly 4 acres back there, this is his back forty, and I get to play with 2k sq ft. Like first year prairie plantings, it looks like a weedy mess due to weed control which is to keep it… Read more »
Late fall, late afternoon sun as the heron stalks prey in my wildlife pond. Behind the rocks is a boggy area with Brown Fox Sedge and behind are Red Osier Dogwoods, and Switch Grass. Fall has beauty as well, if you move beyond what we are taught by Big Horticulture.
If you leave up your plants in the fall, you leave places for critters to overwinter. Some will do so in the hollow stems of plants. Cut them to the ground and you provide no place for certain species to hang out for the winter.
Buffalo grass being a warm season grass on the right has gone dormant for the winter compared to the traditional lawn on the right. In the spring I will burn the buffalo grass to give it a jump start.
Leave the leaves. These beds of mine have filled with fallen leaves from surrounding trees. This provides cover for wildlife during the winter and improves soil.
Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, lining a client’s front walkway. This grass’ ornamental value is best in the fall.