I don’t know about you, but the strange warm temperatures impacted my assumption of the happenings in my landscape. Wearing a T-shirt, I looked out my window and realized nothing was buzzing around in my flowerbeds. Some flowers, like the reliable black-eyed Susan, were still in bloom; meanwhile the butterflies, like the monarch, had migrated south, and moths and bees had taken up residence beneath layers of leaves or hollowed-out stems.

Even though I hadn’t kept pace, nature stuck with the schedule. As the days get shorter and temperatures change, nature receives its cue to prepare to slow down; in the case of deciduous trees and shrubs, leaves change color and nutrients move down to the roots. These trees and other native plants evolved over thousands of years alongside the wildlife that depends on them. This time of year, native plants provide for wildlife, particularly the birds. Beyond the tree canopies, food sources found in our shrubs, grasses and ground covers contribute greatly to what I refer to as a birdfeeder with roots.

Marie Chieppo is an ecological landscape designer and organic landcare professional based in Sagamore Beach. She has been in business for 25 years. Her current focus is primarily on educating others about sustainable healthy practices in the landscape.

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