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Time To Tidy Up The Garden

By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Some gardeners tidy up their perennials every fall, which leaves a very neat garden and a clean slate come spring. But lots of us let the remains of last year's perennials stand through the winter.

There are a few reasons to wait until spring to clean up, besides being lazy or because we'd rather be inside reading or baking or watching football when it's cold in the fall. It's also because the deadheads and leftovers of perennials not only give your garden some structure and winter interest, they also offer cover for birds and other critters seeking shelter from the cold.

But by now, perennials are leafing out and shooting up again. So it's well past time to clear out the old stems and leaves and seed heads, along with weeds you may find too.

Be careful as you remove those old perennials, some stems can be rough or splintery, so wear gloves. And at the same time be gentle around the emerging plants - fresh leaves and stems pushing up from the ground are fragile, so don't yank against the new growth. And be careful not to crush tender shoots under your knees as you crawl through your garden beds this spring.

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