On a gray January afternoon, I sit in my sunroom looking out over my backyard habitat. We have had a number of very cold days and nights. All the deciduous trees and shrubs have lost their leaves, which pile up on the garden floor. Small songbirds are constantly foraging among the leaves. The lawn grass is still green. We mowed over it several times because I don’t like the look of leaves littering the lawn, but I like how the chopped up leaves nourish the green grass.
If you are a pristine gardener, you wouldn’t like the looks of my garden right now. I am more interested in providing winter habitat for the beneficial insects in the leaf litter and allowing the leaves to add their nutrition to my garden soil. Songbirds feed on the insect larva and eggs they can find in that leaf litter all winter long. The garden in winter is actually a very busy place.