October 22, 2009

A Fall Chore: Cutting Back Perennials

I've been slowly, bit by bit, getting my perennial borders ready for winter. I cut the plants back, as the siberian irises above, edge the borders, and do some weeding. With all the cold weather we've been having, I'm behind on this chore, since it's not at all pleasant to work outdoors in nasty weather.

But some plants still show color in their leaves and seeds, so I've held off from cutting them. I can still look out the window and see the yellow green leaves of amsonia and the reddish leaves and seedheads of a large astilbe. Two huge clumps of siberian iris are still a bright warm yellow green; when they start to brown, I'll cut them. For now, I can peer around my computer, into the back garden and up my neighbor's hill, and see the subtle colors of late fall––deep yellows, dark ochres, and browning reds––against the fresh green of lawns renewed by recent rains.

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