Cutting back perennials for winter?
We're having a bit of difference of opinion over our garden at work, so I wanted to touch base with y'all and get your opinion.
I am admittedly a very lazy gardener. My co-worker is not. She likes a clean (I would say bare!) expanse of mulch, with bushy flowering plants plunked down in little islands.
I like a big expanse of plants (she would say weed-infested thicket!) with as much color, shape and texture as possible. And I don't like cutting things back.
She finally pulled out the dead annuals, long after even I said "I better pull those -- sometime soon." She picked up all the dead leaves from the trees on campus. I pick up candy wrappers and pop cans.
Now she's suggesting we need to cut back all the perennials, too. She cut down a bunch of irises, and is insisting everything else needs to be "cleaned". I've insisted she leave the thyme and lavender alone, but we're differing on the gaillardia, coreopsis, sedum, pulsatilla, and the rest of the iris.
She says they should all be cut down to 2-3". (The discount chrysanthemums I planted she cut down to 1, 2" stalk each.
While I realize I spend a lot of time in the spring pulling away dead leaves, it doesn't seem healthy to scalp plants like that. Not to mention the fact that it leaves you with no garden interest, just -- big expanses of mulch!
This is a small garden, right in front of our office, and I know she wants it to look tidy. What's the best way to handle these perennials?