If you live in a milder climate, your growing season can be greatly extended.
Even so the two most important times of year to prune plants is the fall and during spring.
During the winter months, perennials in particular will be an obvious candidate for tidying weathered leaves and cutting off dead flower heads.
The same procedure can be carried out with shrubs although a heavier pruning is better left to the spring.
If you are uncertain of whether or not to tackle a plant leave it until the weather is warmer.
Once spring is in the air, perennials start to stir and new growth can easily be seen poking through the earth. This will be your guide because old growth will be obvious against the lush new leaves.
If however, you are hesitant with your pruning shears, below is a guide to certain species and just when they should be tackled.
Campanulas are happy to be trimmed all year around, often encouraging a fresh round of flowers. The Butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii benefits from a quite drastic approach cutting back as hard as 6 to ten inches.
Platycodon grandifllorus, the balloon flower, is a late bloomer and is better left well alone until its re-emergence towards the end of spring. Astilbes are another plant variety that requires very little attention.
As a general rule shrubs suffer more serious consequences than perennial plants from being pruned at the wrong time of year.
Make sure to read the plant labels that will give you a guide to the specific variety growing in your garden.