Yesterday was cool and sunny, and I walked around taking a few photos of the garden. We have had a few hard frosts so the plants are in pretty much full sleep mode now. That means the “bones” of the garden really stand out–the rocks, paths, and shrubs.
In the fall, I don’t tidy up. Stalks and leaves and all the greenery lie, stand or sprawl where they are when frost kills them. That’s partly because I’m focused on the new school year and don’t have much energy for gardening. But mainly it’s protective–we get some very cold dry winds and the “duff” provides a) a layer of mulch on its own, and b) stalks help to catch leaves and snow which also insulates the soil/plants. In the spring I remove some stalks and do a little raking, but I try even then to leave as much of the organic stuff in place as possible. Also, I have lots of rudbeckia, sunflowers, and echinacea which provide food for birds over the winter. Everything looks a little raggedy, but that’s OK with me.