Why You Should Let Your Garden Go to Seed – On the House

Why You Should Let Your Garden Go to Seed

By on September 29, 2016

Take a moment to appreciate spent flower stalks in your late-summer garden and the benefits they provide

In late summer and early fall, many gardeners are faced with the quandary of what to clean up and what to leave. Deadheading, a horticultural term for trimming off spent flower stalks, can sometimes encourage more blooms on your flowering shrubs and is generally used to remove the “brown stuff” in a garden.

I advocate taking a closer look at the brown seed heads and spent flower stalks in your landscape and thinking twice before snipping them off. The spent flowers of your native shrubs and subshrubs often contain nutritious seeds that are a critical food source for many species of birds. You may also be able to use some of these seeds to propagate new native plants for your garden — or your neighbor’s. And there is an impressive geometry to many seed heads that often goes unnoticed.

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