As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it’s easy to assume that our wildlife garden is winding down. But Autumn is a big season for wildlife:
- Monarchs are migrating to Mexico
- Common Buckeyes are migrating to the southern states
- Songbirds and Raptors are moving to their winter homes
- And northern breeding birds are arriving in my Pennsylvania garden to spend the winter
Your wildlife garden has a very important role to play in all of this movement. You can create a welcome rest stop to assist in this migration.
One of my favorite native plants in the autumn wildlife garden is New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) because it is always covered with butterflies, bees, and other insects. And it’s beautiful to boot.
There’s lots of different aster species, each of them providing nectar for our insect friends.
Another is Goldenrod (Solidago spp) which is also loved by nectar seekers. There are lots of native Goldenrod species, so it’s very easy to find several that will work in your garden.
Autumn is a wonderful time to plant, and planning for winter wildlife foods is a great way to ensure year-round activity in your wildlife garden.
Make sure to include plenty of winter berry-producing shrubs. The birds love them, and you will be blessed with flocks of Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Mockingbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and more.
And don’t forget the nuts. Acorns and the fruit from other mast-producing trees are hugely valuable to birds and other wildlife.
What are your favorite autumn wildlife garden plants?
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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