It all depends on how you define mess!!
We tend to think of Hosta's as beautiful only in late spring and summer when the colourful variegated foliage is splayed out in all it's lush green summer glory, beneath trees and shrubs. But not in autumn when it's leaves have become all droopy, floppy and dirty yellow or crinkled up and brown. But look again!
At the the graceful way the stems naturally fall, and the intricate way the spent seedheads are arranged! Even the worst (or should we say the best) of those very old grey crinkled leaves are really the most interesting shapes are they not? Just because they are old and grey and wrinkled doesn't mean to say they are not beautiful! Just like us!
I have learned through the New Perennialist movement how important it is to open our eyes and see the beauty in each stage of a plants life from birth, to death. I get so much more pleasure from appreciating the season of seedheads and dying foliage instead of discounting it as messy or untidy - something that should be trimmed away out of sight as soon as possible. I think Piet Oudolf has trained me well, because this year I am really and truly loving the more muted colours and shapes of seedheads and dying foliage in the garden - even when Dahlia foliage droops rather ungracefully.
Isn't it wonderful the way our trees and plants won't be contained within neat borders but spread themselves beautifully over every surface in autumn. How important it is to enjoy and revel in autumn when for a relatively short time, colourful leaves clothe and light up our boring paths and hard surfaces with such panache. They are not to be tidied away yet! But perhaps only in the dead of winter when they go brown and drab, sloshy and slippery. Maybe that would be the time to sweep them away to make way for the new season - the freshness and glory of spring.