Now that winter has arrived our climate is cooler, and our nights are longer. Plants respond to the winter climate and to a process called photoperiodism, where the shorter days and longer nights, signal preparations for a slowdown period.
Many living creatures in the garden slow down their body processes too. Snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, Millipede Assassin bugs and ladybugs and many other insects all slow down, so that no extra energy is used up.
Many animals will begin their search for a place to hibernate or just a cosy sheltered place to store food and build nests. Nature has incredible systems in place to aid in these endeavors, a deciduous tree will drop its leaves as its growth slows down, allowing the garden creatures to find shelter under the fallen leaves away from predators. Grasses, perennials and bulbs will have dying leaves that form a thick mat, creating warm shelters for wasps, caterpillars and butterflies. Certain species die off in winter leaving their eggs, larvae or pupae to hide away until the warm spring weather arrives, when they hatch to produce a new community who begin the process all over again. This is common in the wasp and spider families. Be attentive to this cycle of life and openly assist and encourage sheltered spots for creatures to shelter in in your garden
We challenge all gardeners, to live in harmony with nature this winter.