4. The Birds: Insect-eating birds, like chickadees, wrens, titmice, nuthatches, pheobes, and bluebirds, are very welcome in the garden because they consume thousands of caterpillars and other pest insects as they raise their young every gardening season. Not cleaning up the garden means there will be more protein-rich insects available to them during the coldest part of the year. These birds are quite good at gleaning “hibernating” insects off of dead plant stems and branches, and out of leaf litter. The more insect-nurturing habitat you have, the greater the bird population will be. Your feathered friends will also appreciate feasting on the seeds and berries they can collect from intact perennial, annual, and shrub stems. Song birds are one of the best reasons skip the garden clean up!
One other benefit is that there's a feeling of freedom that comes with using cordless electric mowers. Dragging around the cords of corded electric mowers is a nuisance. It’s also potentially hazardous, with the potential of accidentally running over the cord with the mower. Fortunately, "electric" is no longer synonymous with cumbersome cords. The new cordless mowers are safer and more flexible.
In contrast to the colder parts of the country, fall is perhaps the peak garden season in coastal Southern California (at least as soon as the heatwaves stop!). Summer is the closest equivalent to your winter in terms of a “down” season but, to be truthful, we can garden year-round. And, yes, it’s exhausting! 😉 I’ve often said that I’d welcome a real winter break to rest, regroup, and plant what’s next.