Off with their heads!

image of flower heads

Deadheading, which is removing the faded flowers from shrubs and border plants, makes the garden look tidier and encourages plants to produce another flush of flowers. The sole aim of plants is to produce as many seeds as they can to ensure continuation of their being, so by removing the flowers before they have a chance to set seed means the plant hasn’t fulfilled its destiny.

The result is it will grow more flowers, which is great for us gardeners.

image of roses

With repeat-flowering roses, don’t just remove each faded flower. Once the entire cluster has faded, cut back the shoot that carried them by six or nine inches to where the stem is of pencil thickness. This will ensure a second-flowering shoot that will grow from the bud in the angle of the leaf that you cut above.

Delphiniums and lupins may not necessarily produce a second flush of flowers as large as the first, but even they may produce smaller spires of flower if they are deadheaded.

Giving the plants a good feed with a generous sprinkling of fish blood and bone, or rose fertiliser, will give them added energy and add much-needed nutrients to the soil. Even bedding plants will benefit from being picked over to relieve them of faded flowers, and a weekly dose of diluted liquid tomato feed added to plants in containers will keep them healthy.

So rather than let the garden just get on with it, why not get out there with your secateurs and give it a helping hand!

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