Give us a call 513-271-2332

Leave Them Be


(Jump to recent posts)
2018/12/12




This may sound strange coming from a member of our maintenance team, but if you can, leave those plants up for a while yet. We can always come early spring or mid-winter if needed, to cut back the spent perennials- more specifically, the seed heads. 

Despite the recent foul-weather, I’m seeing a lot of seed heads still intact and bearing fruit. For the birds and other wildlife, these little pockets of seeds are lifesaving. And for the gardener, many spent flowers are quite attractive in the late fall and winter garden. When designing a new garden or adding plants to an existing landscape, I try to include a few plants that will winter well. Short grasses that are less apt to flop with winter winds, and perennials with interesting seed heads like flag iris, yuccas and coneflowers are usually on my list. I often let my park gardens go a bit wild this time of year. The leaf litter and spent perennial foliage is shelter for small animals and may provide a place to scavenge for seeds and small insects on warmer days. 

Gardening for wildlife and having a more natural winter garden doesn't mean the yard has to be a complete mess, far from it. A garden designed for winter interest and wildlife can look quite controlled and tidy. Well-manicured understory trees and shrubs and a sharp edge on the garden beds helps to keep a somewhat natural garden from looking too unruly. Another tip: plant in large groups or swathes. A band of coneflowers left to seed looks intentional. Rogue coneflower heads popping up here and there about the garden starts to look more unkempt.




“Designing for wildlife, winter interest and our inclination to want order in our landscape is a bit of a balancing act,” shares Peter Wimberg. “Not everyone would enjoy my very natural front landscape, but they may find it perfectly suited for the backyard. Designers learn how much formality you crave in your landscape and will plan accordingly.”

If you are not sure if your garden is ready for cutting back, or if can go natural a bit longer, give us a call. We can help you balance your love of nature and a tidy yard!




Fall grasses in the Wimberg Focal Garden at Ault Park. Glad I haven't cut them back, yet. 


Recent Posts

(Jump back to Top of page)

A Plug for Plugs
2020/07/27
Spring Showers  
2020/04/23
Giving Joy
2020/03/26
Today at Wimberg
2020/03/26
Prairie Mulch?
2019/11/08
A Finer Path
2019/10/08
Taking Shape
2019/09/30
The Next Generation
2019/09/27
Ault in Bloom
2019/09/09
A Simple Elegance
2019/08/13
Aster Yellows
2019/07/31
The Carefree Garden
2019/07/26
Hardscape Basics
2019/07/01
Mulch 101
2019/03/18
Public Gardening
2019/02/08
An Easy Climb
2019/02/05
Improving the View
2019/01/23
Stepping Up
2019/01/21
It Is So Tempting
2019/01/07
Winter Watering
2018/12/18
Leave Them Be
2018/12/12
Hellebore Love
2018/12/05
Fall Color
2018/11/02
Perfect Pairings
2018/10/11
Planting Walls
2018/09/20
Flawed Opportunity
2018/09/06
Reading the Mulch
2018/08/01
Garden Delegation
2018/08/01
WHY PLANTS FAIL…
2018/03/26
LIGHTING THE WAY
2018/02/26
LESSER CELANDINE
2018/01/25
WHEN STONES PREVAIL
2018/01/22
NO NEED TO PANIC
2018/01/17
WHY ANNUALS
2018/01/05
THE VERY WET GARDEN
2017/11/07
LEAF REMOVAL
2017/10/30