Off with Your Deadhead

As usual, there’s so much work to be done in the garden that I can barely keep up! One of the tasks I've been delaying (simply because it's one of my least favorites) is deadheading.

by Jessica Walliser
Jessica Walliser struggles with the internal battle over deadheading flowers. Photo by Jessica Walliser (
Photo by Jessica Walliser
One garden chore I always procrastinate: Deadheading flowers, such as these.

As usual, there’s so much work to be done in the garden that I can barely keep up! One of the tasks I’ve been delaying (simply because it’s one of my least favorites) is deadheading.

You might think I’m crazy, but frankly I prefer weeding the garden for an entire day to deadheading for two hours. And, honestly, I have always wondered why. The garden looks great after all the spent flowers have been snipped off. It looks fresh, clean and ready to begin pumping out more flowers. But after discussing my dislike of deadheading with a friend, we came to the conclusion that it’s because I feel guilty lopping off someone’s head.

And I do, in a way, feel guilty about it. I mean, geeze, that plant put so much effort into forming those flowers and seeds—not to mention how much effort all the little pollinators put into visiting that flower over and over again to ensure that it was pollinated and the tiny seeds were created in the first place. I feel like I’m dissing all their hard work when I cut off that “finished” flower. Isn’t deadheading like saying that once you don’t look pretty anymore you don’t deserve to be here? Even if you still have so much to offer? Those seeds, after all, will make future generations of flowers.

I’m guessing you’re thinking that I’m reading too much into this deadheading thing and my time would be far better spent just going out with my clippers and decapitating all the aged prom queens out there. I don’t know, though, I might just let them drop their seeds and wither in their own good time. The party ain’t over ’til it’s over, right?

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