Yesterday afternoon and again today, I did an early autumn clean-up. I'd purposely let my hanging baskets and flower boxes dry out over the last two weeks; the plants were spent and the risk of an early winter season always looms in the shadows - there's nothing worse than working with numb fingers in a bitterly cold wind - I expect you've also been there done that yourself! Cut down the shasta daisies, bellflowers and columbines as well. By no means done - but it's a start. I leave the vines which cover our deck up throughout the winter months; love their gnarled, brambly branches set against the snow.
I rescued a few sprigs :)
Throughout the growing season I throw everything back into the beds as I deadhead and for the most part do the same during fall cleanup. Most of the leaves from our trees are raked onto the beds to blanket plants throughout the winter. Granted it's all a bit messy come spring, but leaves return most of the nutrients crucial to soil health.
A favorite little book of mine is In the Garden, by Canadian author Marjorie Harris. Inspiring musings which look at the role changing seasons play in the life of the gardener. In it she states "you need to think like a forest when you garden. No little elves rush about tidying the forest floor. Fallen leaves lie and slowly break down into the magnificent duff that feeds the trees" I think she makes perfect sense. The same should follow in our own gardens.
Don't you love the wind-swept look daisies have as they dry out? I've noticed the whole world takes on a sort of rumpled elegance in the fall; like the well-worn, yet still chic leather purse or boots you can't quite part with. Everything feels lived-in and comfortable.
Kind of like Meryl Street and Robert Redford in Out of Africa...