Sunday, December 23, 2012

Puffs of Winter

Winter is a time of rest for many things. In Georgia, especially in the northern half of the state, many plants go dormant and rest quietly - especially above ground. Left alone, seed heads and dead leaves cling to limbs and stems to remind us of what was there before.

Solidago erecta

Now is a good time for us to rest as well - relax and leave the garden be. Seed heads left standing provide food for overwintering birds, both the year-round residents and the those that stop to winter here.

Stems and leaves left in the garden are fine hiding places for small bugs. Bugs that become bird food when they are discovered by clever birds. Recently I saw several different birds searching through leaf litter on the ground for bugs: a brown thrasher, a male cardinal, a Carolina wren, and some type of warbler. I remember very well seeing a flock of cedar waxwings last winter land in a maple that still had old leaves clinging to the twigs. They quickly searched every leaf for bugs and then took off again.

So take a break from garden chores and let nature have her way with your leavings. Spend your time appreciating what the winter garden has to offer: silhouettes of deciduous trees against the sky, puffy seed heads, a tumbled jumble of crisp leaves on the ground. Another blogger captured it perfectly in her post about the garden as muse. Such artistic shapes that nature creates for us to enjoy!

Now that your eyes are not distracted by pretty flowers, hear the birds call to one another. Here is a good video of cardinal bird songs; cardinals have such a variety of sounds.

Without the leaves on the shrubs, you have a better opportunity to watch them flit in and out looking for bugs and the last few berries. The duller colors in the landscape make their colors seem all the brighter.

Spring will be here soon enough. Enjoy the unique look of winter before the puffs blow away.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas from the crazy kids up in Roanoke! And Happy New Year!