Yesterday Rilla and I finished filling the bug snug with leaves, grass clippings, flower stems, and twigs. We’ll leave it be now and hope it went up in time to offer shelter to overwintering insects. We may be a bit late for this year, but now we know what to when late summer rolls around next year.
Ideally there would be a lot more twigs and branches among the leaves, but we used what we had in the yard. Flower stalks (we had zinnia, dahlia, rudbeckia, sunflower, and cosmos stems mostly) are excellent to include in the layers because insects can burrow into the stems, especially the hollow ones. Or you can simply leave the stalks in the garden all winter, right where they grew.
The neighbor’s Norway maple has conveniently leaf-mulched the large flower bed in this part of the yard (we call it the back yard, but it’s actually on the side of the house because of this quirky corner lot). The cherry, apple, and Tupelo trees are supplying the sheet-mulching project on the other side of the house. Scott is mightily amused by the way I greedily eye our neighbors’ giant paper bags of raked leaves awaiting compost pickup. I don’t need them—we’ve got plenty—but leaf mulch creates such superb winter habitat and decomposes into fantastically rich compost for your garden beds. The maple’s yellow leaves are rapidly turning brown, but to me they are nothing but gold.