An Argument for Untidiness

Late every autumn it’s time to clear up all the vegetable garden debris and tidy up the garden. We don’t want any hiding places for pests and disease to bide their time waiting for the succulent shoots of spring. The flower garden gets no such attention. Why? Winter. Just as we can almost taste sweet spring, Mother Nature dumps a load on us (of snow, of course). No matter, we still have last year’s seed heads to remind us of this year’s promise.

Achillea, Sedum, Hydrangea, and Phlomis are all quite charming in winter, and the quaint puffed seed heads of poppies and love-in-a-mist serve double duty as they seed themselves into the garden.

No, untidiness is not for everyone, and the stark, subtle beauty of the winter garden is not the same as the glory of summer, but we’ll still have that in time. Soon, very soon.


2 Responses to “An Argument for Untidiness”

  1. Love to leave plants up for winter. Remembering the book “A Gentle Plea for Chaos”. And a book I have: The Garden in Winter ( by Rosemary Verey?) and The Garden in Autumn (Allen Lacy??). (I have a lot of garden books.) Ann Lovejoy pointed out clean up is so much easier in late late winter when stems are brittle and break off.

    • I’m also more motivated in spring, because I’m so anxious for the garden to start growing. Plus there’s a feeling of gratitude for all the pleasure that came from those dried up stems.

      Those are some great authors. I’ll have to keep my eye out for the books you mentioned. Thanks for putting a bug in my ear!

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