Look for early spring-blooming bulbs (sometimes beneath the snow or ground cover). If necessary, divide clumps of old, nonblooming bulbs or fertilize with a 5-10-5 granular fertilizer now and again in fall. Mark the spots with small stakes for locating next fall.
Gently press back any perennials that heaved out of the ground over the winter. Mulch those plants with several inches of shredded material.
As days warm up, gradually pull back mulch from around perennial crowns.
Remove dead leaves from perennial clumps taking care not to injure emerging new leaves.
Cut back to the ground all perennials and ornamental grasses that were left standing for winter interest.
Prune back to 12 inches stems of autumn-flowering clematis vines.