Well, we all knew it was coming. High 70s last week and some snow in the forecast for this week.

The bounty from the “year of the tomato” needs to be put away. Sauces, freezer, dehydrating or wall paper. Lots of other veggies as well. What a bounty. Don’t forget the Charlotte Food Shelf.

But here is the real deal…clean your room. You would not want to spend the winter in dirty sheets, unwashed laundry, leftover food and newspapers on the floor (not to mention other unmentionables). Your garden does not want to either.

Tidying up is very important. Leftover detritus is a haven for bad things, both critters, fungi and other uggies (“uggies” is a gardening term).

Annuals. You may want to get the last few days from them, but when the dance is over pull them out and compost them. Composting can be a tough issue. If there are bad diseases such as blight, botrytis, etc., you may need to bag them for the landfill.

If the annuals have set seeds you can spread them around for next year. The picture here is of a cleome bed from such “volunteer” seeds from last year. Other annuals that do well with this spread-the-seeds treatment are rudbekia, sunflowers, delphinium and celosia. If the plants are hybrids the offspring may regress—had that experience with hibiscus when all the offspring are white. Gardening is a wonderful crapshoot, so experience it.

Perennials. Most, but not all, like to be trimmed to the ground. Certainly herbaceous peonies (not tree peonies), hibiscus, iris (leave 4 inches), delphinium (look for new growth and leave that), Shasta daisies, day lilies, hostas and bleeding heart.

Rearrange the furniture. Now is a good time to move perennial plants around. Peonies can be dug, divided and replanted, though here we have some that are going on 40 years. Be careful to not plant them too deep, leave the “eye” about an inch below the ground and give them sun.  

It is really too late for tall beaded iris, but not Siberian iris. Delphinium and Shasta daisies are also good candidates.

Plan for next year.  The more you do to clean up and prepare, the less you have to do next spring.  Your garden will thank you and you can spend the winter snug and smug!