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Seed heads

Seed Heads

Good displays on the Herbaceous Borders

Don't cut down all your herbaceous plants this winter as many gardening books tell you but leave the ones with good seed heads. Seed heads are an important part of a plant's appearance in autumn and winter.  

Have a look at the main herbaceous borders at Ness - if we had cut the plants back in the autumn there would be a huge empty borders until March - half the year, what a waste. Take a look at the border at the bottom of the Herbaceous Lawn where the gardeners have been weeding and dividing plants, all chopped down apart from a few random grasses; it looks like a waste land.

At Ness we probably have a head start on you because we deliberately pick a lot of plants with good winter shapes and seed heads when we are planting borders in the first place but see what you have.  When you are choosing which plants to buy in the future think about more than just flowers. As a general rule, later flowering herbaceous plants (July onwards) tend to be the ones with good seed heads.

As well as looking good, seed heads and winter stems are fantastic for wildlife providing food and shelter for a variety of insects including butterflies, mammals and birds. Unless we are working on a border, we aim to cut all the winter stems and seed heads down as new growth appears in the spring from late February in to March.