Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seedheads in the winter garden

While some gardeners prefer to do their clean-up in the fall, if you wait until spring to cut back sturdy perennials such as sedum, false indigo, bee balm, and coneflowers, their slender their dried flowers and seed heads can provide interesting shapes and textures in the winter garden, catching falling snow and providing food for the birds.

Ornamental grasses left unsheared provide delicate texture and color against a stark white blanket of snow. In addition to their color and texture, taller ornamental grasses add movement to the winter garden.Some ornamental native grasses for winter interest are northern wild oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), switch grass (Panicum virgatum), prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepsis), and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).  They should be cut to the ground in the spring before new growth resumes.  I prefer to do my garden clean-up in early spring as I anxiously venture into the garden to hunt for and monitor the first signs of spring beginning to sprout.

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