Tree without leaves Fall Seed Heads

I had nearly forgotten this stage – the lull between a full canopy of vibrant foliage and the cleansing innocence and allure of a snow-covered world.  The landscape seems a bit thin and bare, and the sunlight is mostly unfiltered and brash, but I see beauty.  Beauty in the form of naked structure, unadulterated form, and interesting remnants.  We are experiencing the final arc of the seasonal circle.

Native Perennials in Late Fall

This year, we are trying something slightly different in our perennial garden.  We are leaving it –  untouched and as is.  We did not cut back any of the plants.  As you might know, there’s no real reason to cut them back, but many people prefer the tidiness of perennials cut down to the ground.  This, of course, is a viable option, but it is not a requirement.  In other words, perennials will fare just fine.

Winter Perennial Garden

We decided to do this primarily to offer a food source for the birds and other native critters foraging in the winter months.  I also like the bit of color, texture, and interest the plants add to the landscape.  Further still, the little bit of stems, leaves, and seedheads provide some shelter from the bitter winds and driving snow while adding movement and sound.  It’s nature in its purest form.

Plants under Snow

Additionally, when the snow does begin to fall and accumulate, interesting shapes and mounds emerge from the plants underfoot, adding further interest to a sometimes subdued, flat, monochromatic world.  Ornamental Grasses, Redtwig Dogwood, and Sedum can be stunning in winter, adding splashes of color, rhythmic movement and sound.

If you’ve already put your gardens to bed for Winter, don’t fret.  It’s not for everyone, but it is something to consider for next year.

“Even when November’s sun is low,

And Winter flaps his fleecy wings,

Thy gold among his silvery snow

A solace in the sadness brings.”

-James Rigg

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney