Garden architecture

If you start getting into gardening, and start watching garden shows, you hear them talk a lot about “architecture” and “structural elements”… and they aren’t talking about ornaments or actual structures (okay… sometimes they are but not usually).

They are talking about the structure of the plants themselves. You’re probably familiar with the term “deadheading” – cutting off spent flowers to make the plant look nicer, and encourage more blooms. There are certain flowers this is really good for – roses, dahlias, petunias, etc.

But for some plants, you can get a whole other effect by leaving the flowers, because they look interesting at every stage of the process.

The blanket flower is one of them.

It’s starts off as a tidy little green bud that’s almost a flower itself, and then blooms in a riot of colour, and slowly fades to and adorable little pom pom. The pom poms (which are seed heads) last quite a while before they fall apart, creating quite a bit of interest right through into fall.

The pincushion plant is similar, but on a much smaller scale.

And then of course, the iconic coneflowers.

The cone flower is probably one of my favourites, because that seed head turns brown and lasts for ages into winter. It’s also a favourite treat for the finches, who will come to eat the seeds as long as the are available. It’s not uncommon to come out and see a wee goldfinch perched on top of one. (They do it while still in bloom too).

Are there any plants in your garden that still look neat at the end of their life?

7 thoughts on “Garden architecture

  1. The Japanese Dogwood gets an interesting seed head. It looks like a little flying saucer to me. They turn bright red in a good year. This was NOT a good year. They dried up before they turned color.

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  2. kayT

    Our Pride of Barbados has a million flowers this year (we froze a bit last winter and for a tropical plant it seems to like that!) and they leave behind a million pods that look just like the pods of the lima beans we used to grow back in the midwest. The bush is beautiful with flowers but when it’s covered with lima beans it makes me smile. My husband is less amused as the pods eventually burst and fling seeds all over the lawn where they turn into more Prides. Many, many more.
    Thanks, as usual for your terrific pictures.

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  3. Araignee

    I always have to go out and cut the ugly flower things off the hostas at the end of their blooming period which is too short imho. It’s quite a job since they grow so thick and heavy. I wish the deer would eat them but oh, no. They just want the pretty leaves.

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