By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – OK, let’s cut out the ugly bits. First everything bloomed early and then it got incredibly hot and a lot of plants just plain fried – and it shows. Browned leaves, spent stems that withered and flopped, perennials that pooped out weeks ago. Give them a haircut – get out the shears, pruners, scissors – whatever works for you.

This midsummer cleaning can encourage pretty new blooms that won’t have to share the stage with all those deadheads on your phlox, yarrow, and dianthus, as well as shrub roses and endless summer hydrangeas, to name a few.

The exception, are those plants that feed wildlife – such as Echinacea, our native purple coneflowers, whose dried flowerheads may look brown and ugly to you but are a feast to finches and other birdies. But for plants that are finished flowering and aren’t birdfood, and those with leaves that fried and died back in the heat, you’ll be surprised how much you can freshen your garden just by cutting out what’s browned out right now.