deadheading season

And, no, it has nothing to do with Garcia sightings.


Last year, I had just the right amount of Verbena bonariensis scattered about the garden. Silly me…I enjoyed it a little too much. Meaning: I failed to pull it up or cut it off before it went to seed. Now I have forests of the stuff.


With ever more new recruits marching in. Fortunately, they have a tenuous grip. As soon as they get big enough to grasp, I pull them out with little resistance. The mature ones, I yank out as soon as the flowers begin to fade. Hmmm…I wonder what next year will bring?


I purposefully left the Belamcanda alone, to see what would happen. The seedheads displayed the source of its common name, blackberry flower, and yes, it produced a batch of babies. I am happy to have it fill in the blank space at its feet, but will patrol the area more carefully in future. Cute as kittens, but enough is enough.


I learned about Lychnis the hard way. Wait too long and the sound of millions of little seeds escaping creates that sinking feeling. Sure enough, many hours on one’s knees grubbing out seedlings will be in store.


Laxity is not without its compensations. See how the errant Lychnis peeks through the Hydrangea quercifolia so coquettishly? I would never have planned that.

All in all, deadheading is an occupation perfectly suited to late summer. One can drift about the garden, snipping seedheads into a bucket without ever breaking a sweat. Come to think of it, why am I sitting here at the computer when I can feel the tug of the garden calling? Bye now.

8 thoughts on “deadheading season

  1. Thanks for putting a name to the Lychnis that’s driven me crazy for 5 years on the north side of our house. It’s finally gone now…along with everything else green to be replaced with more gravel (this area borders the neighbors drive and we decided it was time to give them a little more room).

    Hope you are having fun out there!

  2. Loree~Fun is the name of the game, no? Gravel seems like a fitting replacement in an area that is off your beaten path. In fact, I am finding Lychnis less and less worth the trouble.

  3. They’re been introducing sterile versions of the verbena lately–It might make for a season when you don’t have to deadhead. I planted this verbena last year for the first time, from a gallon can, fully expecting it to live up to its reputation as a profligate reseeder, but I’m wondering if I ended up with one of the sterile versions. I haven’t seen a single seedling! I don’t need 900 plants, but a few more might be nice…

  4. James~Obviously, I have seed to spare. All you need do is ask…and send me your address…and some will be winging its way to you. But never say it came without a disclaimer.

    Wendy~Spaghetti sauce for the entire US Armed Forces…that’s how much oregano I have. Who knew it should be confined to a pot?

    Linda~I’ve given away plenty of the verbena (with adequate warning), but probably some of it has been pinched, as well. Little do they know.

  5. Dear Ricki,
    I’ll have them. All of them. Haven’t been able to grow neither the Verbena nor the Lychnis. Even in the greenhouse they didn’t germinate. That is one weed I would love to have. All I ever have to deadhead is groundsel, lemon balm and the deadly pentaglottis sempervirens. Maybe I ought to do something about the little wood violets which arrived for the first time this year. I can see why others complained about its fertility. Hundreds of seedlings.

  6. Joco~Seems like the Verbena should work for you. It was one of Christopher Lloyd’s favorites. I’d keep trying. Just another example: one person’s weed, another’s desiderata. Same deal as James (above)…be glad to send you some seed.

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