Seed Heads

Seed Heads
A selection of seed heads for winter interest.
The dry, hollow stems of perennials provide homes for insects throughout winter. The seed heads provide for birds & small mammals. Traditionally, in the past, gardeners liked to tidy their garden in autumn cutting down all perennials & then cleaning their tools & storing them away until spring. New traditions are emerging as people want to support & encourage wildlife into their gardens & so gardeners are leaving perennials until spring before they are cut down. The dead stems also help to protect the plant from frost as well as looking beautiful when the dead flowers & seed heads are coated with frost or snow & their skeletal structure & form can be appreciated. Instead of looking at bare soil all winter you can take pleasure in this new garden vista.  Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher said ‘To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.’
  • Angelica archangelica is loved by ladybirds sheltering over winter & birds love to eat the seeds.
  • Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s ears) if left to set seed is loved by goldfinches & chaffinches.
  • Veronicastrum virginicum varieties (Culver’s root) produce wonderful seed heads.
  • Hardy Geranium are one of the most popular plants in the UK especially the more recently introduced long flowering varieties often flowering until October. They are tough & easy to grow & their seed heads are enjoyed by bullfinches.
  • All varieties of Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), Eryngiums, Hylotelephium (Sedum) especially ‘Spectabile’, Phlomis russeliana (Turkish Sage), Rudbeckia, Helenium, Echinops (Globe Thistle). Agastache especially ‘Blackadder’(Giant Hyssop), Echinacea (Coneflower), Digitalis ferruginea (Rusty Foxglove) & Allium christophii are all excellent plants.
Some grasses are also excellent providing winter interest both for you & for wildlife with their attractive seed heads . Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ & ‘Ferner Osten’ & Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Forster’ AGM (Feather Reed grass).
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