Good advice from WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife about getting your garden ready for winter.
CROSSING PATHS NEWS NOTES
Fall "To Do" list from your backyard wildlife family
Your family may be making those fall outdoor chore lists, as daylight hours shrink, temperatures drop, and the urge grows to "batten down the hatches" in the yard and garden. Here's another "to do" list from your local wildlife "family" that you may find easier to check off:
Leave some "dead heads" on your flowering plants to provide seeds for some of us birds and other animals
If you must rake leaves off grass lawns, just pile them under some shrubs, bushes or other nooks and crannies to provide homes for those insects that we birds love to eat; leaves make great mulch to help your plants, anyway!
Keep that dead or dying tree right where it is (unless, of course, it's truly a hazard to you), so we can feast on the insects in the rotting wood or make winter roosts or dens in its cavities
Give yourself and your mower a rest for at least a portion of your lawn so we've got a patch of taller grass to hide and forage in
Save just a little of that dead bramble thicket for us - it makes great winter cover and we don't need much!
Fall is a good time to plant shrubs, so replace invasive, exotic Himalayan and cutleaf blackberries with native plants of higher wildlife value like blackcap (native black raspberry) or red raspberry; native currants or gooseberries found in your area; or native roses such as Nootka or baldhip.
Pile up any brush or rocks you clear around your place to give us another option for nests and dens
Take it easy on yourself and let go of the "perfect" garden image; we wild animals like less tidy, "fuzzy" places because there's usually more food and shelter there
Get yourself a comfortable chair, sit back, and congratulate yourself on having made a home for wildlife and a haven of relaxation for yourself!