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As the dog days of winter approach it’s easy for gardeners in zones 4 and 5 to become green thumb deprived. We look out our windows to a barren landscape, all perennial gardens have been put to bed and the annuals have been pulled and composted. Now we wait and stare at a stagnant exterior environment until the last frost in the spring. Sometimes as gardeners it’s hard in the fall to practice leaving some perennials alone. We just want to get everything done and have things look as tidy as possible. This practice does not have to happen with all perennials. By leaving some plants in your garden you leave behind some visual interests and the birds that do not migrate will entertain you on those boring days as they feed on seeds.

This Sedum (Autumn Joy) for example has great color, would look great in any white landscape and the birds just love to nibble on their seeds. Again… this is not for everybody, some like to have a tight compact garden and don’t mind a simple white landscape. Now keep in mind, not all perennials look good without a good pruning, in fact some should be pruned hard to prevent foliage disease or to not give shelter to harmful insect and pathogens. In that case all debris should be disposed of and NOT composted. The important thing is to just know your plants and their characteristics.

Below are some helpful links that I’m sure will help guide you.

Fall Clean up and Pruning 

Garden Pests

Plant Disease

Plants for Feeding Birds

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