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Garden hygiene vs wildlife

Evening fellow gardeners :)

So it’s that time of the year where we all decide whether or not give our garden a tidy up, or leave it for the frost protection and wildlife. The only plants I have that retain their seed heads are Japanese anemone, Sedum, Hypericums. Though I have noticed that the anemone seed heads have grey mould on (think this is called Botris?) 

I would love to know what everyone else does with regards to tidying or leaving.

PS I never leave dead foliage around the base of plants :)


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,665
    I do what I feel like doing at the time and what the weather is like. I tend to cut back anything dull, black or just miserable looking and keep others that are more interesting. I'm not particularly tidy in any event, it doesn't bother me.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • That’s a good way of being :) when you mentioned the weather, in what way does it effect you on what you keep or don’t keep? 
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,536
    I might scrape away the sycamore and other acer leaves. I will leave VB until they look sodden and manky. Coleus, thunbergia, tomato -  and hosta leaves have been cleared and old primrose leaves too. That's it for me😊
    If we get a few dry days, the grass will be cut before it's as high as an elephant's eye.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • @B3 sounds good :) Sorry what is VB?
  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    I don't do much tidying over the winter. I don't really care about the garden in the winter, I don't even like winter flowering plants, it feels like flowering wasted. It's gray, dark, rainy, and wet, so what's the point. And I am not a tidy gardener anyway.
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 5,102
    I actively leave plants over the Winter and actually enjoy clearing it all in Spring, to invigorate the garden as it wakes again. I do clear windfall apples from the grass and bin/compost spent annuals in pots etc. 
    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • Sounds like many people just leave the garden be :) do you not think about diseases overwintering etc?
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,764
    Mother Nature leaves dead foliage under all her plants so if it is good enough for her it is good enough for me. The goldfinches have been working through the inula seed heads and this morning we had 4 jays rummaging through the remains of the veg patch. Roe deer have already helped themselves to all the sweet windfall apples and leaves and the foxes helped with the apples. Blackbirds are demolishing the Bramley windfalls and are busy redistributing all the beech leaves as they look for dinner. It is all go out there without me having to lift a finger?
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,276
    I tend to leave it until bulbs are coming through, then break off any tops still standing. By that time all the seeds have gone.
  • @steephill you sound so lucky! You’ve got so much wildlife there! :) don’t get me wrong I don’t clear up all the debris just if it’s round the stems is all. And of course if anything is obviously diseased 😐
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