click photo to enlarge
The seasons impose a regular routine on the gardener. Three seasons of lawn cutting with a peak in mid-summer is something with which most English gardeners are familiar. The autumn tidy of vegetable plot and borders is another. And so too is the dead heading of flowers.
The casual gardener doesn't always appreciate the power and purpose of dead heading, neglects to do it, and consequently has a poorer display of blooms. What dead heading achieves is interference with the biological imperative to reproduce. The pelargoniums (also known as geraniums in England) in the photograph above produce seed from the flower heads and if they are left to do so put all their effort into that task. However, if the flower heads are removed as they fade and before they begin to produce the seed, then they will grow more flower heads in an effort to compensate for their loss. Consequently the gardener's display will be all the better for this little bit of work.
The summer months see me, bucket in hand, doing the round of the flowers, dead heading and putting my collection in the compost. But, prior to disposing of them, I often take a snap or two of the fading beauty before it enters the biological cycle.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Photo Title: Pelargonium and Begonia Dead Heads
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 25mm (50mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On