Deadheading Man!

After a brief hiatus for Taste of the Gardens prep, your hip, non-hipsta gardener is back and ready to take on a new subject. Enough about Japanese Gardens, right?

This week’s blog shall be brief (aren’t my posts always?). I just need to rant, vent, blow some steam for a minute. I have noticed a tendency among peoples out there to remove spent flowers in the “incorrect” way. There are great articles already out there about the how’s, the why’s and when’s of deadheading. I am not interested in showing you the right way, I just feel like complaining, soooo here I go.

I have a couple of pet peeves when it comes to removing spent blooms…

  1. Removing just the flower top, but leaving the flower stalk behind to brown out and advertise the fact that you are sloppy gardener. Let’s take daylilies for example. I saw the other day some daylilies with browned out stalks cut above the green foliage or just below, but still well above ground height. Go ahead and stick your hand in that clump to remove leaves, etc come fall and you will be treated to a nice stab in the flesh. Comfortable, I think not. Flower stalks emerging from the ground like daylilies, please do yourself the favor and follow the stalk ALLL the way back to the ground to cut.
  2. People will cut back old flowers but leave the one or two still blooming alone because why take a life needlessly, right? In my opinion, that one single daisy left to bloom for a couple of days in a sea of green foliage looks pathetic and out of place. When you have acres to tend, you do not have time to visit the same plant for the same task more than once. I wait until at least three-quarters of the blooms have wasted before I remove ALLL flower stalks, creating a nice neat mound of green growth.
  3. Hide your cuts. This is really simple. If you are not sure at what point on the plant to make the cut, follow the stem back until you see either a secondary flower bud emerging, or until you reach foliage level. Make your cuts below foliage level to hide your cuts. No one need see butt ends of stems. A good example plant would be peonies. Cutting below foliage height leaves behind a plant with great foliage texture and habit to add further enjoyment to the garden long after spring blooms are pasted.

Okay I am done now. My rant is spent.

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager


3 comments

  1. Horticulturalist and Therapist. Thank you Josh! I’m giving myself permission to remove that last isolated iris and peony bloom…guilt free!


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