Take a load off spent blooms

“Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny, and you put the load right on me”

~ Robbie Robertson, “The Weight,” 1968

Now is the time that “gardening” feels suspiciously a lot like plain yard work. I spend my days dodging the sun’s intensity to water, weed and deadhead my plants (I’m behind with fertilizing).

Yet, I have been enjoying my perennial garden this year; for all the flowers’ hard work, they deserve my time and effort to help them “take a load off” their foliage. Many of my ornamental plants particularly benefit from removing their spent blooms. Not only does this reduce the plant’s top weight, it also signals the plant to produce a second round of flowers. I f the plant doesn’t rebloom, it will begin to focus more energy on rejuvenating its foliage and strengthening the root system.

Here are some flowers in my garden that benefit from deadheading: dianthus, coreopsis, Jupiter’s beard, lamb’s ear, daylilies, annual dahlia, balloon flower, marigolds, foxglove and salvia.

Although my poppies are spent, I remove the crispy foliage but keep the stalks and pods for the birds and garden interest. My winter-blooming hellebore are going into hibernation to escape the summer heat, so I’ll cut the stems back to just a few inches from ground level.

Stay cool, and don’t forget to take some time to ”take a load off” and just enjoy the garden!

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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