September, like dusk, gilded the landscape in its ripened rays as the petals and foliage blushed in the cooling air and waning sun.  Beauty was everywhere.

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 as many trees have yet to lose their leaves. We proudly serve the communities of Villa Park, Elmhurst, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Wood Dale, Itasca, and more!

Sweeney’s:  A Plant Based Company

Plant of the Week


Red October Big Bluestem

Native, perennial ornamental grass emerges grayish-blue in Spring, maturing to green with tinges of red in Summer and finally a showy scarlet-bronze in Fall, remaining throughout Winter.  Prefers sun and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 4-6′ tall and 2-3′ wide. Deer resistant.

“Noons are sunny, warm, and still;
A golden haze o’erhangs the hill;
Amber sunshine ‘s on the floor
Just within the open door;
In September.”
~Elizabeth Cole

Well wishes,

Kim Sweeney