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Garden Clean-up

And so we snip away with our shears - cutting off what is now brown and dreary - but musing about the flowers of summer.

wilted cone flower

Photo: Anne Hornyak

The cone flowers still have their seed heads, so we won’t cut those down yet - let the birds enjoy them awhile longer.

As gardeners put their gardens to bed at the end of the growing season, it is a time to think about the flowering plants that performed so heroically in the summer past. As we pull out the annuals, now so sad and defeated by frosts, we remember their earlier vibrant colors.

Weren’t the petunias wonderful – especially the “wave” petunias that bloom so exuberantly without needing to be dead headed? And the dwarf single marigolds that have become so popular in recent years – starry, innocent flowers on bushy plants.

We should thank the hybridizers for those. As we cut down the perennials, we give thanks for the gaillardias, often called blanket flowers because they remind us of Indian blankets – they bloomed so well this year.

The cone flowers still have their seed heads, so we won’t cut those down yet – let the birds enjoy them awhile longer. We are eager to cut down the asters though. They look so dilapidated – but what a mass of pink and purple they were earlier.

The Russian sage is still standing and its skeletal branches are graceful enough to be spared awhile longer. But the mums look sad, full of brown deadheads – they really must be neatened up. And so we snip away with our shears – cutting off what is now brown and dreary – but musing about the flowers of summer.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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