Our yard is pretty much wrapped up for the winter, but I doubt it looks that way to the passerby.
There is a statistic that is often cited in organic gardening circles: a study of German insects has shown a decline of 70% over the last few decades. I have to admit that every time I read or think about it, my involuntary reaction is "well too bad for Germany."
But obviously Germany knows this because they actually did a study. The United States has not. And I would hazard a guess that our numbers will boggle the mind as well.
Our yard still has bugs. (I can't believe our yard still has bugs.) There are some sharp-angled brown beetles that fall off the aster seed heads when I collect seeds, some tiny harvestmen type guys (one of whom got stuck in the fridge and was fine with those temps) and a wolf spider who has made a home in a sheet that I had really hoped to put away for the winter. And the reason we still have bugs is because our yard looks like the photo above.
We need to get used our yards looking a little wild over the winter if we are to not only halt the rapid decline of insects but grow their Humber. Insects overwinter in leaves, dead perennial plants, brush, and woodchips. If you remove all of that from your yard, they will freeze or become prey.
It's a matter of perception to prefer green over brown. we can (and must) learn to find a landscape that supports wildlife more beautiful than a socially acceptable square of lawn, in any season. We celebrate the colors of fall in out Thanksgiving arrangements but scrape our yards into green deserts. Why?
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