Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Deadheading for More Flowers and Other Garden Tasks

Marigold from Our Maryland Garden
Today and yesterday I spent my gardening time (probably about an hour total) pulling weeds, pruning our butterfly bushes, trying to get rid of some small trees (aka weeds in this case) that were growing up and crowding the butterfly bushes (using my pruning shears - not very effective but at least they're shorter and not hogging the sunlight now) and deadheading flowers.  I'd like to know how long it takes just to do the deadheading (removing spent flowers) but I never seem to single task on that so until I do I won't know for sure. It doesn't take nearly as long as weeding though and it's a lot more fun (at least for me). Better Homes and Gardens has a nice article on how to deadhead with photos of different plant types and their individual deadheading needs (I have no financial relationship with them other than being a paid subscriber of their magazine; I just like the article).

Deadheading is kind of like a moving meditation for me. Depending on the flower I gently tug or snap (e.g., daylilies), pinch (e.g., marigolds) or clip (e.g. shasta daisies and coneflowers) the spent blooms (although once fall approaches I leave some spent blooms such as the coneflower heads alone so they provide winter interest and bird food). Sometimes I pray, sometimes I talk to the plants, and, if no one's around I might even sing to them. It's relaxing and fun. The garden immediately looks better and it's a good feeling to know that taking care of this task will likely result in more flowers than if it hadn't gotten done.

What is your favorite routine garden task?

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