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Connecticut Garden Journal: Ecological or regenerative gardens are in tune with nature

Autumn leaves after rain.
Ali Majdfar / Getty Images
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Moment RF
Insects are settled into their winter homes in leaf layers and in erect, pithy, plant stems. As long as the soil is thawed, microbes are breaking down organic matter creating food.

With the holidays upon us, many gardeners have free time from their jobs and gardening outdoors. It's a good time of year to see how ecologically oriented your yard is.

Ecological or regenerative gardening focuses on the whole yard, including the soil, to create a habitat that's good for birds, wildlife and humans. The first step is to realize there's life happening in your garden even in the dead of winter. Winter birds, chipmunks and mice are searching for seeds to eat. Insects are settled into their winter homes in leaf layers and in erect, pithy, plant stems. As long as the soil is thawed, microbes are breaking down organic matter creating food.

With this in mind, there are some simple things to do to encourage all this activity. Leave leaves in the yard and garden for creatures to overwinter and to protect plant roots. Any amount of leaves over a 1-foot-thick layer should be removed and composted into leaf mold. Plant native flowers, trees and shrubs that produce an abundance of seeds, berries and fruits for wildlife. (Here, you can find native plant nurseries). Make sure there are places to nest, overwinter and hide such as brush piles and dense evergreen shrubs and trees. Consider creating a water feature. This will help animals in winter, as long as it stays thawed, and create habitat for salamanders, frogs and other water lovers adding diversity to your yard.

An ecologically oriented landscape may not look as neat and tidy as we're used to, but it's good to garden in tune with Nature.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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