I belong to the camp of gardeners who do not clean up the garden in fall. Oh I get rid of diseased plant material and clean up weeds but I do not strip the beds clean and chop everything down to a neat little pile of sticks. My garden theory is that the plants provide seed heads for the birds and shelter for birds like the Junco who prefers to be in and about the plants on the ground. The spent plants hold the snow and so insulate against the freeze and thaw process. They also give me something to look at when the ground is white. In the spring I know where a particular plant is by its remaining stem. When I look out at the garden from my kitchen window throughout the winter months I have a reference for my wish list of new plants or extensions for the next spring. It works for me.
As I approached the front door of home that day I noticed that in the container by the garage door that held Chrysanthemums that I planted in summer had produced their second bloom. Such as wonderful addition to a glorious day.