Seedheads Of Promise


They are math, science and art all rolled into one, the seedheads that is. New England Aster, A. nova angliae is a perfect sphere, full of goodness and the potential to create hundreds more just like it.


Clematis ‘Elsa Spath’ has produced pods of promise that look like mopheaded rock stars of years gone by. The hybrid clemmies rarely, if ever will give forth a viable seed, but we still love them.


Echinacea purpurea against the rusty Think sign will feed the finches until the goodness is nearly gone. Afterwards, we will sprinkle what is leftover, usually the seeds at the bottom round that were too well attached for the birds to plunder, around the beds for free plants to arise in spring.


Eryngium alpinum has a very long lasting and ornamental seedhead. These will be on display all winter then cut down and whatever is left will be cast to the winds in the shed garden. Years of this treatment has resulted in a nice stand of them for the much desired mass planting.


Eryngium yuccafolium swims on tall stems amidst a blizzard of pink Muhlenbegia capillaris seeds, a twofer. This Eryngium is new to the area, it is hoped that the needle leaf seedlings will be emerging any year now, to be moved where the impact will be greatest. The muhly seeds just enough to be a valuable commodity and is moved in spring to live amongst its own kind. Being able to identify this grass from the many other grass babies has proven very beneficial. I know for a fact that it was pulled as a weed for years, not being able to tell it from the others. It is the blue cast to the blades that seperates the muhly from the chaff.


Rudbeckia hirta is a goner, being an annual here, with Vernonia lettermannii ‘Iron Butterfly’ still blooming behind. Seeds of both will be collected and scattered with hopes of increasing their numbers.


Prunella vulgaris has very beautiful erect seed stalks. This plant was already growing here when this garden began. It needs no help in propagation, the reverse is the treatment here, the extras are pulled and added to the brush pile habitat to avoid a takeover in the compost bin. In the background can be seen Stachys byzantina ‘Helene Von Stein’ and the waterfall of Carex in the upper left corner.


Veronicastrum virginicum creates a candelabra of flowers and then seeds. The renovated heather bed has been planted not only for flowers but for the fall and winter interest of what is left behind. Joining the faded colors of Veronicastrum are Liatris spicata, Astilbe chinensis ‘Pink Visions’ and the grass Karl Foerster. These will provide a neutral curtain for the Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ at the edge as it goes from summer gold to winter red. That transformation has already begun.


Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives is prodigious in the seed forming department, so much so that the seedstalks are promptly cut as soon as the balls begin to form as the flowers fade. These above have been allowed to continue the reproduction process as a new planting has been added to the design in front of the shed. Drought conditions have encouraged the use of plants that can survive without water, thugs though they might be. This Allium qualifies.


Another plant already growing here when this installment of the Fairegarden began is Datura metel. The flowers open at night and the resulting fruit spikes are a fascinating and dangerous looking weapon. After they open to reveal the black seeds, we harvest the outer coverings for the perfect Hallowe’en decor placed in a bowl or basket. ‘Tis the season.

Frances

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32 Responses to Seedheads Of Promise

  1. Carol says:

    ‘Tis the seed season, indeed. Seed heads have a beauty all their own as you have shown us!

    Hi Carol, thanks. It is exciting, this season! There were many cool seedheads, it was difficult to winnow down the photos to the best shots. I love their look, plus they are often filled with future free plants! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Randy says:

    Frances,
    The datura seeds make a wonderful photo. Hope you enjoy this lovely fall weekend!

    Hi Randy, thanks. I adore those seedheads! The flowers are very difficult to photograph since they are only open when there is not enough light and the flash ruins the shot. I love trying though. The seedheads are much better and hold still. Last year we didn’t have any plants, even though seeds had been broadcast. A group of four came up along the pathway and have been pruned so we could walk past them. A good haul of seedpods has already been harvested and is drying in the shed. You too enjoy this delightful weather. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Darla says:

    A post full of promise and hope for the gardener, I like that!

    Hi Darla, thanks, so nice to see you. I am glad you liked this. Our garden is dependent on volunteer seeds for many of the plantings, some moved, some allowed to grow in situ. The seedheads are like money in the bank! The seed bank. HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Gorgeous seed heads – I love all those free plants they represent!

    Hi Janet, thanks. Although they are beautiful works of Nature’s magic, so geometrical!, the plants they promise make a tightward gardener’s heart sing. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Layanee says:

    The perfection and variety nature produces never ceases to amaze me. Those Datura seed pods are very lethal looking.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for visiting. The datura pods must be handled with gloves, kid, Atlas or otherwise. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. gail says:

    Dear Frances, I love flower seedheads~The promise is wonderful and they are often as beautiful as the flower. Too bad the clemmies don’t produce viable seed~Well, that might end up like the invasive Autumn clematis then. One of my favorite seedheads is the pink astilbe from fairegarden (thank you) ~It is beautiful all winter and you cannot kill that plant! xxxgail

    Hi Gail, thanks and you are very welcome. Pink Visions is one of the strongest astilbes ever! Astilbes are very drought tolerant, they might go dormant but will always return. They do not have to be by a river or creek to look fabulous. Those Autumn clems are scary with the seeds, we are constantly pulling them, but still love them, love hate, I suppose. πŸ™‚
    xxxooo
    Frances

  7. Seeds, I love those little magical things. I’m actually reading a book about just seeds and nothing else but seeds and it is so fascinating. Great post Francis, thank you for sharing. xoxo/ Tyra in a snowy Vaxholm

    Hi Tyra, thanks. Snow!!!! That is hard to imagine for us, but I am sure it is beautiful there. That book sounds delightful. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Eileen says:

    Frances, I’m all for an integrated curriculum, so I love things that cover all subjects with one activity. Wonderful compilation of seedhead photos.

    Eileen

    Hi Eileen, thanks, you are funny! The seedheads are very photogenic, they seem to hold still better than flowers, even in breezes. Integrated curriculum! HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. James Golden says:

    Yes, seedheads are beautiful, and people like you deserve credit for helping let others know what an asset they are, both visually for our pleasure, and as food for critters. And the wonderful mystery of letting them self-seed. Chance always has a place in the garden. You can move seedings or just pull them out if the are in the wrong place. And by germinating and thriving is particular areas, they tell you about your various garden environments.

    Hi James, thanks so much! I agree wholeheartedly, and being a basic tightwad, so appreciate free plants, wherever they pop up, in addition to all the other reasons for letting the seeds mature and stand. We have been working on winter interest for 10 years here, and those seedheads are a big part of it. Not all are nice, or even viable, but those shown are good ones. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Rose says:

    A fascinating look at all the different seedheads, Frances! The Datura is really cool; I can see why you would include it in your Halloween decor–it looks like a giant maw ready to gobble up any ghouls who come too close:)
    Thanks for showing the aster and mentioning its self-sowing abilities–now I understand how the one native I planted last year suddenly turned into five this year:)

    i Rose, thanks. The datura is a favorite here, for sure. The New England are the most prolific of them all here, many are moved, but some are pulled, just too much of a good thing! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Rattlesnake master DID grow?! Yay!!! I love the clematis seedheads and adore that datura!! Absolutely perfect for Halloween.

    Hi Monica, yes, the seeds from you did germinate, 2 of them, but these are from a purchased plant. The seedlings are still very tiny, but alive. I thought they were lost, but saw new growth recently. When they bloom you will be given credit for sure! Thanks again for those seeds. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. The Datura is captivating! I will need to find out more about this alluring plant. Yes, I love Halloween.

    Hi Meredehuit, thanks. The datura sometimes get a bad rap, lots of mythology and history to them. We just enjoy the flowers and love the seedpods for decoration. Hallowe’en is too fun, one of the best things about October! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Jenny B says:

    She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. LOL! I love your cute little mopheads Clematis β€˜Elsa Spath’. Aren’t seedheads amazing? The wealth of seeds and the possiblity of new plants have always intrigued me.

    Yeeeeaaaah! HA Jenny, good one! I am glad to hear you love seedheads too, pure magic encased in cool containers. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Steve says:

    The Clematis are always a favorite of mine. So soft-looking and complex at the same time. My Mother always laughs when I point out how gorgeous Dandelion seeds look, lol. What the heck dos she know, anyway?

    Hi Steve, thanks for visiting. The dandelions are both beautiful and quite scary, for the numbers and high germination rate! Might be a good Hallowe’en costume, would terrify gardeners! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Phillip says:

    I love the clematis seedheads – so beautiful.

    Hi Phillip, thanks. I was just thinking about you! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. barbarapc says:

    Frances – what a lovely collection of seeds to read about – I didn’t know how sweet little Eryngium alpina was – I’d grow it for the seed heads alone. Question for you – is the photo of the Veronicastrum recent? Mine are still covered in leaves and the seeds are green. It’s one of my favourites for the winter garden.

    Hi Barbara, thanks. The Veronicastrum turned brown long ago, due to our continued drought, I believe. It isn’t dead, but prefers more moisture than it is getting here this summer. I do have a newer one that still has green leaves. I grow it for the winter interest too, actually. The astilbe seems to help it stand up better here. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Trying to submit a comment for the third time. Very strange, but here goes.

    I love your title to the post. There is such promise and hope in those little seeds. And the percentage of them that make it is so small. Such wonder in nature.

    Hi Donna, so sorry you had trouble leaving a comment. That is odd since you are also wordpress. Thank you for not giving up! Seeds are amazing in so many ways, and beautiful while still attached to the plants. They have always fascinated me. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. commonweeder says:

    Once again your beautiful photographs have provided an instructive lesson. Sometimes I have to be told what to look for – and sometimes I just have to be patient and wait for seeds to ripen.

    Hi Pat, thanks so much, you are too kind. Don’t you agree that gardening and patience go hand in hand? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Sweetbay says:

    Clematis seeds have a unique beauty all their own.

    Hi Sweetbay, thanks for dropping by. Yes, they are one of a kind with those swirling dervish topknots. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Wonderful photos Frances. Your Datura looks like a dragon and I love the soft feathery clematis seeds. Lovely post! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. I seen what you mean about the Datura, it does look like a dragon! Thanks for that bit of illumination! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. My favorite is the Clematis β€˜Elsa Spath’ They really do look like rock stars! Your garden is so very interesting! I love that I can “virtual visit” it!

    Hi Melanie, thanks. Elsa is a beauty, dark blue blooms and finely formed seedheads. There is a lot going on in the garden right now, it is true. Glad you can visit whenever you wish. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Valerie says:

    Never thought of using the datura seeds as decoration. I put them out to the curb for garden waste collection as I do not want them coming up in the compost next year.

    Hi Valerie, thanks for visiting. I do remove the black seeds from the Datura pods before setting them out. Compost? No way! We don’t put seeds in the compost too much, but the brushpiles around the perimeter of the property take all the extra garden debris nicely. I learned that the hard way. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. The Datura is beautiful as a seed I can only image what its flower is like. This is my first visit to your blog, found through Blotanical. Glad I did! Your garden is wonderfully interesting and I enjoyed my visit. Thanks!

    Hi Cat, thanks and welcome. (I can edit the comments and combined yours, hope that is okay.) I am glad you found me too, come back anytime! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. Ah, fall- my favorite time of year! Great images as usual, Frances.

    Hi Tessa, thanks. So nice to see you here. Fall is glorious here, the light, the colors, the weather! I am so glad you love it too. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. Ginny says:

    I have always loved the “fluff balls” of clematis. All of your seed heads and pods are beautiful – I’d be tempted to collect some into a bowl or a basket just to admire on a table in the house. Another reason to love fall!

    Hi Ginny, thanks. The Datura are collected, after the black seeds are extracted and saved, in various bowls as Hallowe’en decor. The others need to be spread and sprinkled to make new plants. Free plants are always good, unwanteds easily pulled. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. A great collection for seedheads, Frances. I’d be hardpressed to pick a favourite, though of course I love the Eryngiums always. I’m just not ready for it to be late October, though I guess the weather doesn’t really care what I think. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jodi, thanks. Fall has snuck up on us, hasn’t it, where did the time go?
    Frances

  27. Lola says:

    All those seed heads. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to gather or plant for next yr. I’ve started to gather some seeds from some of my blooms.
    I’m having some trouble with my Lamb’s Ear. I put it in a pot so I could watch it closer. Guess I should put it in more sun. It gets the morning sun now. Or should I put it in the ground? All suggestions appreciated.

    Hi Lola, thanks for visiting. I am not sure what to tell you about the lamb’s ear, it would not grow for me in Houston. You might ask a local nursery how you might keep some going.
    Frances

  28. Cindy, MCOK says:

    So many different seedheads, each lovely in their own way. They really add a lot of interest to a garden!

    Hi Cindy, thanks for stopping by. We do love these seedheads. Interest plus new plants plus food for the birds, all good! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  29. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Seed heads are in some cases as interesting as the flowers they once were. Just a little more subtle in some cases. The Datura is a killer though. Total opposite of that sweet white flower of the night. BTW I hardly think of you as a Cozy Cabin Crasher. I think you are an honored guest especially when arriving with plants and wine.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. We do love the Datura, it has a lot to recommend it for the garden. We have to make sure there are seeds to keep it living here, we nearly lost it one year. We will be sweetly welcomed to the Cozy Cabin and Resident Gardener’s home, as always. They don’t get many guests way up there! The wine bottles will be empty, however. I thought he wanted them for the edging and will be saving them for him. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. Patsi says:

    The Clematis seedheads are way too pretty.
    It’s true…some seed heads are just as nice as the flowers.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. They really are, and so much more long lasting! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Love the Clematis, as pretty as the flowers.

    Hi Rob, thanks. The Clemmies are wonderall all around, aren’t they? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  32. Town Mouse says:

    What fun! I always have so much trouble deciding when to cut off the seedheads. Especially because the hummingbirds and other critters like the fluffy stuff as nesting material… And now one more reason: Great photos.

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks for stopping by. We leave the seedheads or most things if they are attractive and standing up. If they are something that is too free with the seeds, like the Prunella, they will be snipped after I tire of looking at them. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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