Seed-heads – Textural Interest in the Garden

Pasque flower (Pulsatilla) seed-head
Pasque Flower seed-heads have a silky softness.

After flowers fade in the garden, there’s a certain feeling of loss, of knowing that they have disappeared for another year. But some plants have something more to give the garden – attractive seed-heads that add their own texture and interest to the planting.

For a photographer, seed-heads make a great subject. They can have very ‘architectural’, interesting shapes and their textures range from soft and fluffy to extremely prickly. There’s plenty of variety to inspire pictures with different moods. Could be something soft and gentle, or something bold and eye-catching, or perhaps an image with a more nostalgic feel.

Seed-heads have that inbuilt message that something is ending but also remind us that there will be something new – new life – in the future. And for a gardener, seed-heads can be a reason for hope, if there is a chance of new plants springing up – or dread if they’re weeds!

I love to see the Pasque flower seed-heads every year. (Top photo.) They are so soft that you want to stroke them but they can also really catch the light. The fine hairs reflect the sun and make them gleam on a sunny day. (They’re irresistible to my cats too, who find that the heads swaying on their long stems make a great toy to bat a paw at, especially those that can just about be reached through the slats of a nearby seat. Fun for all!)

prickly seed-head
I wouldn’t like to touch this seed-head!

Other seed-heads are not at all welcoming to the touch. But they do at least look interesting in a photograph. I’m happy to say that the plant above was in someone else’s garden. I don’t know what it is, but I really wouldn’t fancy brushing against it in a border. Ow!

I don’t know what the seed-head in the bottom photo is either. It might be a protea. The photograph was taken in a garden that had big glasshouses, so there were a fair number of  non-hardy plants. The combination of textures and shapes and the soft browns, yellows and creams of this seed-head appealed to me. It’s very different to the seed-heads that I would find in my own garden and, like the Pasque flower, makes me feel that I want to reach out and touch it.

At this time of year, when there are few flowers left and so many garden plants are dying back for winter, seed-heads can linger. I like to leave as many as possible in my garden, so that when the frosts arrive, there will be something to photograph. A coating of frost can make a dried-out seed-head turn into something wonderful – a delicate structure with grace and sparkle. So if you like to photograph plants, it’s a good idea not to be too tidy in your garden. Leave those seed-heads standing and wait to see what magic a touch of frost or snow can bring!

I love to read your comments! Do you have any plants that you like for their seed-heads?

Seed-head
Mystery seed-head – could it be a protea?

 

 

8 thoughts on “Seed-heads – Textural Interest in the Garden

  1. Lovely post Ann! I like seed heads too. Especially when I’m walking my dog and there are wild flower seed pods by the path. I don’t know what they are called, but when they are covered with frost or snow they look like stars. I’ll have to figure out what they are called.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you like the post, Laurel! Those seed-heads sound lovely! I’m tempted to look for plants with good seed pods just to see what they look like frosted. 🙂 Your mention of your dog reminds me that I have to pick seeds out of my cats’ fur (especially Strathy’s long fluff) at certain times of year – I think a lot of weeds get spread around that way!

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    1. Thank you Syd! I’m very happy that you like the pics! BTW, I did buy On1 Photo Raw – will pop back to your blog and let you know how I get on in a little while……. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good for you! I think you will like On1 – they have some great tutorials and often not too long so you can try a certain technique out right after you watch. I am working thru some and hope to blog shortly on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll look out for your blog. 🙂 I’ve been having a first try at it…..managed to create a pretty massive file, so shall have to work out why…..

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