I have already written about the change of the seasons and need for helping our garden wildlife, each time when long summer nights are being replaced with short days. Nevertheless, somehow I believe it is good to bring reminder annually how crucial is to think about garden animals ( visible and invisible ) at this time of the year. Each of us who has garden or, at least, one corner of nature knows that garden beauty is flying smooth through all 4 seasons, but autumn and winter bring special challenge for our animal friends.

As someone who is in love with magnificent portray of fall, I am also aware of the risks that it creates for the local wildlife and its daily life. The autumn is just a golden brown period between summer paradise and winter ice silence. The preparation phase for all of us, to get rid of summer wild vibes and to jump into winter cozy tranquility. Some people take this season very seriously and work on the accumulation of wood for energy source or conserving the food for coming winter. The animals do the same, in their own way but they also would be happy if they can get a tiny support from the humans. Our little help is someones big hope.

As you can guess, the nature is changing its fashion design during the fall and it shows us that switching on the new moment is nothing painful but welcoming. Instead of green wonders and blossom all over, we come into the slowing of all outside and extern activities and replacing them with inside world and introspection. It doesn’t mean that autumn is not inviting and thrilling for adventure but those are some kind of special adventures that only certain people can recognise and enjoy while summer is almost for everyone. It requires a special spirit that embrace the fall and winter and let them show you the mesmerising beauty of cold nature. I am one of those people, forever excited about golden brown woods that merge with frozen lakes, hidden cottages, the smell of fire the baked apple. The not so pleasant thing about this season is the situation with wildlife that must adapt or adjust to the new life conditions. Some of them fail to do that so they are gone and that fact hurts my heart and soul, driving me to be active in spreading call for help and knowledge how to do that in the best way.

The good news for all of us is that actually it doesn’t ask for lot of work to be wildlife friendly within your own garden. You just need to be creative and to let the child within yourself to get out and play. The garden doesn’t need to be perfect and I will never understand people who handle the gardens in such a way that they look like a space garden and not like a part of the nature. The garden should be raw, a bit wild and friendly for all those little species that seek for a shelter. How you can do it ? You stop cleaning the leaves. Of course you can move it from the main trail that bothers you but indeed let it be in the different corners of the garden, where could hold on essential role for small mammals, lizards or insects that need warmth in the chilly days. It is organic and it doesn’t bring any additional trash but producing pure organic elements for spring plants and their development. The old plants that do not have any beauty more shouldn’t be removed till the roots but let being vacuumed in natural process of vanishing, while many insects benefits from it. The compost heap is an ideal place for many hibernating animals and it is important to keep it dry and approachable.

For people who do have a lot of vegetables or fruits in their garden, they should also know that some of the items should be there as a source of food. The case study of apple shows us that one apple could save many lives, even if you have never really thought about it. If you let it be there in your garden, not removing it as always, you could give a super menu to many beneficial insects like butterflies, wasps and hornets. Those pollinators need to be fed in order to survive first cold days and lack of available food and nectars. Then, there are birds that profit from old apples on the ground. They will come to search for insects over there but they eat a bit of fruit, themselves. The mammals are also known to be attracted by apples, especially squirrels, mice, foxes or badgers. 

If you have some plants pots and deco figures in the garden, let them be there for a winter so they can offer a last stand for many little lizards or insects. The animals will prepare it additional for their needs but do not bother them. Maybe some of them will find a way into your homes during the winter but remove them in garage or garden house, to avoid them facing with freezing weather. The same rule is for spiders that search for a warm place to stay. In the case you don’t want them nearby yourself, be so kind to bring them into garage or some closed facility, where they can hide till spring. 

The nests and houses for birds will help them find a safe home, during the snow storm or extreme cold nights. Not to mention to make sure you have enough birds feeder on the porch or in the garden where they can reach the food. During the autumn is still not so critical but when the snow is there, it will be difficult for many birds to find the necessary food reserve. The water pots are also important because the water is mostly frozen and they cant get it. 

This is not a rocket science but the short and deep call for compassion. As well as you need your warm sweater and fire to keep you happy during the cold days and even colder nights, our animal friends would be more than thankful to be considered as the part of garden life and conditions. That is called cohabitation. The special bond that we make between ourselves, animals and nature. Something we promised long time ago, when we got the job to be guardians of this Planet. 


  1. Thank you, Sarah, for reminding everyone of these easy, yet critical, steps to help our fellow earthlings !

    Personally, I do not rake the leaves. I leave them for the reasons you mentioned. Further, I do not get rid of what people deem as “weeds”. To me, they are plants and worthy of living. The result is a beautiful natural garden with so many of our fellow Earthlings, such as squirrels, groundhogs, skunks, deer, birds, wild turkeys, ducks, bees, butterflies, and chipmunks, to name some.


  2. Sarah’s relative and informative article reminded me of the origins of the concept of an enclosure for flora…

    Archaeological and anthropological evidence reveals that Homo sapiens were gathering wild grains from c. 110,000 years ago, on various parts of the terrestrial planetary surface. This would have been complemented by tribal knowledge of wild herbs, etc., to mix with the wild grains. Eventually, this evolved into both physic gardens and herb gardens by c. 10,000 BCE.

    As agriculture and animal husbandry evolved, the need for enclosed gardens of herbs, vegetables and fruit (e.g. orchard) emerged. The ancient Mesopotamians may have been the first to create aesthetic gardens, for the viewing pleasure of elite classes. Most small angiosperms originated in Asia. The Persians would influence the Europeans, eventually.

    Ancient Sino-cultures across what would become China established enclosed aesthetic gardens c. 1600 BCE. These would give rise to the East Asian pleasure gardens.

    In Britain, it was the ancient Romans who introduced (i.e. 1st century CE) the concepts of both productive gardens (i.e. physic, fruit & vegetable, orchards) and aesthetic gardens. Though, up until the early-20th century, most English rustic folk used all space to cultivate food, as opposed to a flower garden.


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !