At this time of year it’s a blessing that some plants continue to look good even after they’ve turned up their toes. You have to experiment – I find a lot of the plants supposed to hold on to their seedheads, like Rudbeckia, Echinops and many grasses, actually collapse sideways into a soggy heap around November, which hardly counts as winter these days. But when you find the ones that work, they really are worth their weight in gold (which is the colour many of them are on a frosty winter’s day, too).
Spiky seedheads of Cynara cardunculus towering overhead against a December sky.
Verbena bonariensis is one of the best for looking good all winter – as long as the bluetits don’t tear the seedheads to bits first.
Eryngiums are good value too – they seem to last until about February and they go well with the Perovskia as a nice contrast to their silvery stems
Plant Mad Nige said:
Delightful pictures! Is there anything about Verbena bonariensis that isn’t good?My Stipa gigantea is still looking good, but with each gale, a couple more of the 2 metre stems break and have to be cleared away.Your poppy might have been chipped at by blue tits. They attack mine, not looking for seeds, I suspect, but for insects taking refuge in the dry, empty heads.The verification word for this comment is untings which reminds me that a flock of buntings – yellowhammers, corn buntings and a couple of reed buntings, is hanging out in hawthorn scrub close to here. Why don’t any of them come into our garden, when I’ve got seeds for them in spades?
Moving on up! said:
You’ve inspired me to go look into my yard and find the beauty in winter. Lovely post.
The Constant Gardener said:
ah… blue tits. So that’s who it was.My Stipa is also collapsing – I took out most of the sad-looking stems the other day but there are a few still holding proud. When you think it’s been going since about June it’s not such a bad show really!Must try eryngiums next year…
the best winter structures ive grown are calamagrotis karl forester and brachytricha and stipa tenuissima.
molinia’s stems snap, and to a lesser extent with Stipa gigantea. the panicums stand up ok but look a bit forlorn halfway through winter.
the sea hollies ive tried look really withered and tatty after flowering and not worth keeping.
i will be trying teasel’s this year, thats a guaranteed good winter structure.