African Garden + work

Zen and the Art of Deadheading

Some people get into a Zen-like state mowing the lawn, others watering. Me, I find my Zen when deadheading. I posted about how untidy my garden is with plants flowing out of beds, spilling into the paths. Where my obsessive-compulsive impulses show is in the removal of spent blossoms. During the summer, I'm usually out every morning, pruners in hand, deadheading. This is not the Zen-deadheading to which I am alluding.

That, instead, happens most often with plants that need lots of individual spent flowers cut off at once, without shearing, plants such as this Geranium maculatum,

or Campanula persicifolia. What many would find tedious and repetitive, I find relaxing. It is not strenuous and does not require me to work up a sweat. I can sit on the garden path and mindlessly cut off the faded flowers, being as one with the garden, feeling it breathing, hearing its song (only if I'm not singing something to myself). Time becomes meaningless, worries fade away. Until it's time to go in.

(These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago. The Geranium maculatum is done blooming now.)

While there is not much art to deadheading Geraniums, deadheading Phlox pilosa involves some discretion.

The gardener must determine from where the new growth will sprout for rebloom. Sometimes it's obvious, other times it's guess work. In any event, the finished product is a vast improvement.

How do you find your garden Zen?


Today is the start of Astronomical Summer.* Summer actually arrived a few weeks ago, and we've been enjoying summer temperatures with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s and lows in the 60s. Perfect weather for Zen deadheading. Happy Midsummer's Day and have a great weekend!

edit. 6/20/08
(VIS has just informed me that it is "Astrological Summer," not "Astronomical Summer." )
(edit. 6/23/08 Have recently learned that Midsummer's Day and the Summer Solstice are not one and the same.)

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Zen and the Art of Deadheading + work