Keeping Seedheads for Winter Interests

Eryngium x zabelii ‘Jos Eijking’ – © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

Eryngium x zabelii ‘Jos Eijking’ – © Richard Bloom/GAP Photos

The temporal nature of our plants and gardens is something quite fascinating. A young, almost hopelessy fragile seedling grows so quickly into ostentatious maturity, before diminishing again as the season grows old. Though the flowers fade, there is still beauty to be found in the architectural, almost insectoid seedheads that remain through autumn and winter. This last hurrah is beautifully captured in the image above – the husk stands as a memorial to the once vibrant blue flower of the sea holly, now frozen literally and figuratively by the oncoming winter. The soft greens and blues of the background colour seem to capture the brittle crispness of a winter morning, with perhaps just the faintest promise of new spring life.

Gardeners aren’t the only creatures who find value in seedheads; they are a great source of food for our native birds, and of shelter for insects and other invertebrates. This means they bring interest to the garden even after they are finally cut down, as they support many kinds of wildlife through the harshest part of the year. So remember not to go too far when tidying your garden at the end of the growing season; there are still wonders to come.