Going to Sleep

Shadows of now dormant natives reflect upon over turned pots in the gardens.

Shorter days, colder temps and crisper air all signal the start of sleepy time in the wildlife gardens. Just like out in nature the plants in my gardens seem to know when it’s time to go to sleep for the winter. Putting on new hues of golds, reds and browns they slowly get ready for bed, laying down like tired children or adults after standing tall all summer. Sometimes they fight to stay awake a bit longer but eventually succumb to the nap known as winter.

The grasses and their surroundings take on a beautiful golden color this time of year.

Sometimes my gardens are still wide awake when they are asked to go to sleep. Living in the high country means that frost and snow can come very early to my yard, tossing a blanket of frost or snow upon the still blooming flowers. When this happens, the flowers rebel a little, showing off their beauty through the sparkling snow or the clinging frost in a magical yet fleeting dance from Mother Nature. Blink and you might miss it, but if you’re lucky enough to be outside you’re treated to the prettiest pajama party you’ll ever see.

The frosting on this pretty native aster will be gone as soon as the sun hits it, but is magical while it lasts.

The ornamental grasses bow to Mother Nature, getting ready for a long winter’s nap.

The pajama party in my wildlife gardens goes on all fall and winter. I leave the plants in my gardens standing like I see out in the wild, not cut down or cleared out like so many others might. Mother Nature doesn’t clean out her yard and neither should we. Plants decompose naturally and show us beauty as they sleep. By letting them get cozy in their beds we can watch over their slow drifting into dreamland while dreaming of our own new gardens next year.

This is how plants go to sleep out in nature, showing us their beauty as they lie still in their beds.

Even my cats Blizzard and Twister like to take more naps this time of year.

For now my beautiful wildlife gardens are resting but I know it’s only temporary. Just like a child waking up from a nap the gardens will show signs of awakening in the spring, but until then I will revel in their beautiful quietness. What will you see in your gardens while they’re sleeping?

© 2011 – 2012, Kathy Green. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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  1. says

    Gorgeous frosty pictures Kathy much like mine. My garden has gone to bed but the tired plants look so beautiful as they fade. I leave up my plants and then I have more fun in spring cleaning little by little carefully only as needed…the look of the natural garden as it snows is so beautiful too…the birds have been happy too…
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..Frosty November Blooms

    • says


      Your gardens are beautiful with the frost! I would love to see them sometime they look so ready for a wonderful pajama party put on just for you and your wildlife friends.

  2. says

    Living here in the Southeast, we’ve been known to get a week of 80+ degree weather in December, followed by snow. I go out sometimes and the tops are dead, but they’re throwing green leaves like crazy at the base. “You’ll die if we get a hard freeze!” I tell them. “Dormancy is for chumps!” they yell back.

    Having spent quite a long time in Minnesota, this still strikes me as deeply unnatural, but half my garden does it, and I’ve lost surprisingly few overwintering. Go figure.
    Ursula Vernon recently posted..Fuzzy-Wuzzy

    • says


      I grew up in Minnesota so I definitely know about winters and snow. 80+ degrees in winter never happened there! I get some green growth in winter also, mostly herbs or penstemons that have mats of leaves close to the ground.

  3. says

    Beautiful Kathy….you paint quite a picture annd I love the “pajama party”

    buttttttttt, what the heck is SLEEP?????? I just mowed the dog area today! (well half of it anyway), paths are scheduled for tomorrow.

    My bluestem bunch grasses have turned golden and are going to seed. Of course some of them have fallen completely over and are reaching out to grab at my ankles hellbent on tripping me. I love watching the birds hang sideways on them picking for seeds. Then I look at the bottom and they are sending out new green growth….gotta love Florida
    Loret recently posted..Pond Prank

    • says

      Thanks Loret!

      I know, I know SLEEP in Florida probably never happens does it? In many ways I like the effects of 4 seasons in the gardens. It allows us perpetually busy garden types to take a required rest as well. At least for a few months until seed propagation begins in the sunroom. Florida is oh so nice though when it’s cold and blowing in the north.

  4. says

    I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than the delicate patterning of snow or frost on a late-season garden….in England it’s called “hoar frost” and it’s one of the few good reasons I can think of to get up early on a cold November morning :)


  1. […] to dig in, and while many parts of the country have beautiful blooms already, the gardens here are happily sleeping. My gardening fingers are itching to do something plant related, so off to the drawing board I must […]

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