Have you ever paused for a moment when removing the debris from around a plant? That collection of organic matter that covered the ground not only helped to retain soil moisture, but eventually would decompose and release nutrients back into the soil. So as long as the debris didn’t harbor disease, the plant would be happier if you left things be. But would you be happier? Probably not, unless you dress up the surroundings with mulch. Even then I have seen examples of mulch covered gardens that I consider downright ugly. 3 to 4 inches of ugly doesn’t do a thing for me. On the other hand, I love the effect created by a covering of mini bark. I used to be able to buy “Pathway Bark” from Garden Time at Lowes, but now all they have available is “Pathway Groundcover” which more closely resembles sawdust than bark. If you were at Jeannie’s pop-up sale, you might have noticed how great the landscaping appeared as it was dolled up with a covering of mini bark. I asked her husband and he said he was able to get at Hasties. He said it was rather expensive though.
As usual, I have strayed from my original topic—that of the dilemma of whether or not you should clean up around plants in your garden—are you making the plants happier, or making you happier? You can do both, but more often I simply opt for me. Just being selfish, I guess.
Stan, The Blog Man