Recently I fielded some questions about the state of our gardens. At Elisabeth Morrow we try to keep our gardens “wild,” as “cleaning up” may affect the balance of plant and animal species the following season. Leaves are left on the ground to provide mulch: this protects the soil against erosion, helps retains moisture, provides nutrients (for the soil) and insulates the ground and seeds from extreme weather conditions. As well, we try to encourage local fauna (such as birds, insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians) to visit or live in our garden over the winter. We do this by preserving a suitable habitat: even in the fall, our indigenous plants provide food, shelter, and materials for building nests.