Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dead Heading


I've been doing regular dead-heading of our cosmos and dahlias lately, wanting to keep them blooming for as long as possible. The way they look in the front yard is just so summery and beautiful. I was inspired by this cartoon. We get an email regularly from a wonderful nursery that we visited often when we were still living in Grass Valley. This is what they sent in an August note.

Then, just the other morning I noticed out the window some activity in the cosmos. Something was rattling around in the flowers making the stems move and shake.

I opened the front door to get a better look, and these two Lesser Goldfinches took off and flew into the red maple out there. I was lucky the light was so beautiful that morning, and they hung around for a few photos.

It didn't occur to me that these birds might like it if I would let the cosmos go to seed, rather than dead-heading them all the time. But that is just what they preferred. I was so glad to accommodate them. Makes my life so much easier!

21 comments:

  1. I usually dead head the lot until about the end of Sept. I love deadheading, much better than cleaning indoors. The birds get their fill before I start my work anyway. I am sure the birds in your neighbourhood had plenty even with you deadheading away. Make sure to keep some seeds for next year's lot.

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    1. Sabine-- I've saved a bunch of seeds! I can't wait to see them start up next year. I do like dead-heading, although I'd be much happier with much sharper clippers.

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  2. I'm usually pretty good at keeping up with it until the beginning of September. Those birds are just adorable. This year we seem to be having actual autumn weather and had our first frost warning last night. No frost, but I still brought some of my hanging plants in.

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    1. Sharon-- I just loved seeing these two Lesser Goldfinches. Watching them flitting around the flowers makes my mother very, very happy! We don't typically get a frost here, although it does occasionally happen. It's one of the reasons we like living in a coastal temperate zone.

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  3. so often our choices are six of one half dozen of the other. Good the birds communicated what they wanted :)

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    1. Rain-- I am so glad I caught their message. Otherwise, I would have gone out clipping that day for sure.

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  4. Oh thank you. Now I don't feel so guilty for not deadheading. I'm all for the birds.

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    1. Arkansas Patti-- Isn't it great to know that you are feeding the birds the old-fashioned way... growing flowers!

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  5. Yay! Another win win situation. I do dead head -- with chain saw!

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    1. Tara-- Yes! I'll continue to deadhead the dahlias, but the goldfinches have the cosmos all to themselves. Well, them and the bees!

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  6. Perfect! The best birdfeeders!

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    1. FC-- That's just what I was thinking. Ah, nature knows best.

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  7. we deadhead until sept and then let everything begin to go to seed, leaving it all a mess during winter so the birdies can treat themselves to snacks. early spring means A LOT of work is due here, but it is fabulous to watch the birds scamper along finding their treasures. (plus we get extra flowers since some of the seeds sprout in spring/summer.) this is when I wish we had those huge sunflowers...the birds would love them!

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    1. Sky-- I'm going to use that as my new rule, deadhead until September. I love watching the birds snack away on these seeds. It's truly delightful. I think we'll plant sunflowers next summer. Wheee!

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  8. Good for you for deciding to "feed" the goldfinches! Here in the northern Piedmont on the East Coast, we have yet to have a frost, but the basil in my patio planters, which I have deadheaded diligently all summer long, has suddenly "given up." It isn't dead or frost-killed, it's just shed most of its leaves and looks like it has decided, "That's it; I'm done."

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    1. Scott-- Interesting that your basil gave up. Plants just know when it's time to yield to the light and seasons. I plan to model my life after theirs.

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    2. I hope that I can summon the courage to follow your (and the basil's lead).

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  9. The goldfinches look great against the maple leaves. Good of you to realize they need the seed heads when the easy food of summer is gone.

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  10. Colette-- They're coming by all the time now. We love watching them from the window.

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  11. Wonderful birds. But I suggest you compromise. Deadhead a third of them and that leaves two seed heads for the birds, one flower for you.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- I love your idea! I think I may try that, after the 40 mph winds stop blowing through here.

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