Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Seedy Characters

We received over two inches of snow in the Philadelphia area overnight, our first blanket of white in almost two years. As I gaze into my back yard and see most of the ground covered, I’m acutely aware of the importance seed heads play in adding drama and interest to the winter landscape. I have to admit that I do a pretty extensive cleanup in the fall since I have limited time in the spring. But there are certain plants I leave standing because last season’s remnants create so much magic in the garden.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol
My winter garden calls me outside to observe each detail more closely.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
A snow-covered Hydrangea stands proudly after the storm.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
My Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ wears winter snow caps.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Diervilla stems stand tall against the weight of winter.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Some consider Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) to be messy, but I love the ornamental display they provide.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Rudbeckia provides birds with a much-needed food source.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Allium ‘Millenium’ starbursts look very ornamental.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Allium clusters are just as pretty as a singular seed head, offering great texture for the colder months of the year.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Grasses like this Calamagrostis brachytricha show off fluffy seed heads to passersby.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Actaea seed heads might be my favorite as they tower over 5 feet above the garden floor.
Lasting Landscapes by Carol
Even when laden with ice, Actaea displays wonderful texture to keen observers.

Another thing I love about leaving seed heads standing is the promise they offer, a reminder that the seeds of yesterday create life tomorrow. While I don’t depend on plant seeds for my livelihood, some people do. I recently watched Gardening in a War Zone, an independent film made by Floret Flower Farm owner Erin Benzakein. The film tells the story of Alla Olkhovska, who lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine and supports her family by selling the rare seeds she collects from her garden. You can’t help but be inspired by Alla’s story. I encourage you to watch this 30 minute documentary.

Whether you leave seed heads because you want to harvest them to see what offspring a plant produces, to support your family, or simply to add beauty to your garden, I know you’ll find comfort in the company of some seedy characters.

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