The most common question we get this time of the year is whether it's best to clean up the perennial garden in the late fall or wait till early spring. There are some advantages to each of the seasons selected. Fall clean-up rids the garden of potential diseased leaves and also gets the garden off to a clean start when spring arrives. Most gardeners have more time to cut back the foliage in the fall than they do at the beginning of the new season. Waiting till spring does have its advantages though, as it allows the dead foliage to naturally protect the crown of the plant during the cold winter. This is particularly beneficial during cold snaps when there is little to no snow-cover protecting the plants. It probably makes little difference on certain perennials such as hostas as they are extremely hardy but some of the marginally hardy perennials such as coneflowers would normally benefit from the extra protection of the dead leaves protecting the crown.