In my garden I always leave the perennials uncut. The birds enjoy the seeds and hopefully it creates an environment for beneficial insects.
One thing for sure, by this time of the year the beds look awful.
With a bad case of cabin fever, I'm looking for any job possible outside.
Put on the boots, get the pruners and remove all the dead foliage from the perennial beds. The spring bulbs have started to sprout and we want them to be showcased in the best way.
Working down close with the plants will also give you an idea which ones can be split in the spring. I found an anemone which is a great candidate to make more anemones. It was also nice to see sedum poking up and some forgotten snowdrops making an appearance.
Don't throw all that foliage away, it's great for the compost pile. Composting is one of the greatest ways to recycle. You will receive the direct benefit of the compost, which is the building block for great garden soil.
One of the hardest things to do is cut a butterfly bush down to about 18 inches.
The plant looks healthy and happy, but needs trimmed.
If the butterfly bush is allowed to grow on its woody stems it won't bloom as well and starts to look more tree like. I want as many blooms as possible in the summer and that's why I cut mine down every season around this time.
This is also a great time to cut ornamental grasses to the ground.
It will invigorate the plant.
If you see that the clump has died in the middle, make a note of it. The grass will need to be split in the spring.
Get out in the garden now, get some fresh air. The birds are singing as spring creeps closer.