I enjoy many benefits from cleaning up my garden in springtime, rather than in the autumn. Cutting away dead plant matter just in time to find tips of spring bulbs poking their brave heads through the barely thawed, frozen ground leaves plenty of seed-heads for birds to scavenge through to uncover meals of seeds.
In the early spring months of March and April when the ground around here is still frozen, I’ve seen Chickadees in the winter-dried Goldenrod and Echinacea seed-heads, and House Finches in the Sunflowers.
Plus the late cleanup works well for my personality: leaving the garden alone in autumn when the snows arrive and I’m sad to see the growing season end, and then in spring when I’m feeling recharged and enthused I can cut back the dead plant matter and be rewarded with evidence of new green growth coming.
For me, it’s a no-brainer ~ waiting until spring helps make it not only a more instantly rewarding chore, but the local birds get meals out of the standing seed-heads left from last summer. Also, the plants look great poking out through drifts of snow in mid-winter. There’s definitely a lot to be said for leaving plants standing to offer ‘winter interest’. It works for me, and for my neighbourhood songbirds too!
Sharing the melodious song of a male House Finch, found on YouTube: