The sun hung over the landscape like a dimly lit bulb.  Autumn seems to have become less festive, and more practical and austere as nature prepares for Winter.

As we begin to put our landscapes to bed, despite the unseasonable snow – 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 as many trees have yet to lose their leaves.

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.

“The hard soil and four months of snow make the inhabitants of the northern temperate zone wiser and abler than his fellow who enjoys the fixed smile of the tropics.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Warm wishes,

Kim Sweeney