by MaryJo Garnier

Ah . . . autumn. Crisp fragrances, bright colors, cool days, and cooler nights. This is the time of year when many gardeners think about putting the garden to bed or adding a design feature by planting a shrub, spring blooming bulbs, or a discounted perennial.

For those ready to clean up for winter, be sure to separate diseased leaves and vegetation to prevent that damage from making a comeback next year. This is a good time to add mulch or compost to the soil, as the nutrients have time to nourish and flourish, and the plants will be stronger and more disease-resistant. When cleaning up the ornamental garden, leave some perennials standing. The seed heads, flowers and stalks will attract wildlife, which you can enjoy watching during the winter. The birds and insects overwintering need the sustenance, and we all know that an environmentally friendly garden will always have lots of bugs in it.

If you decide to plant some new bulbs, it’s a good idea to make note of them or record their location on a garden map. That way, in the springtime, you won’t be wondering where all those “unforgettable” tulips came from.