The canopy grows thin as leaves hasten to their final resting place while light rushes through the skeletal silhouettes of trees.  Autumn seems to have become less festive and more practical as nature  prepares for Winter.


As we begin to put our landscapes to bed – tidying, raking, mulching, and pruning, you might consider letting your perennials stand.  To many, this seems counterintuitive, and to the fastidious, this seems outright insane, but Nature says otherwise.


Perennials within the natural world are certainly not cut back, so why should we?  The answer lies mostly in aesthetics.  Many people think spent perennials look untidy and unwieldly, yet they actually provide Winter interest, and more importantly, they serve as a source of food and shelter for local wildlife.


And as the snow falls and covers these perennials, undulating shapes and mounds give the winter landscape further depth and appeal.


Ornamental grasses are especially appealing as are Coneflowers, Sedum, Goldenrod, Sunflowers, Gaillardia, and Black Eyed Susans.  Of course, if you have some aggressive self-seeders, you may want to consider cutting them back, or at least, removing their seed heads.


Fight your instincts and quell the urge to cut back your perennials.  In doing so, you’ll be offering food and shelter for birds, squirrels, and other critters while creating interest in a somewhat lackluster gray and white season.  As always, reach out to Sweeney’s with any questions or concerns you may have.  We’re always here to help guide you.  Remember to schedule your Fall Clean Ups and/or sign up for Snow Removal Services.

Plant of the Week


Cardinal Dogwood

Deciduous shrub with dark green leaves and delicate, fragrant white flowers bloom in late Spring through early Summer.  Prefers sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil; however, it can tolerate most soil conditions.  Foliage deepens to a reddish-orange, then finally a deep purple in Fall.  Reddish stems turn bright red in Winter, adding interest and texture.  Grows 8-12′ tall and 4-6′ wide.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

-Andrew Wyeth

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney