If you haven't done it yet, it's time to clean up the yard before winter sets in here in New England. While it is good to get the leaves off the lawn, we often go a little overboard with cleaning up at this time of year. Instead of cutting back your perennials, consider leaving them standing so birds can continue to eat the seed pods into the winter. Leaving plants like black-eyed susans and ornamental grasses can help break the monotony of the winter landscape and add winter interest. As for the leaves, instead of ridding your garden beds entirely of them, rake them out, shred them with your mower, and add them back in to your beds! The tall perennial stalks that you've left standing will help keep the leaves corralled in the garden. If you follow these tips, the soil, your plants, and the wildlife that visits your yard will be happier and healthier through the winter and into the spring!