Deadheading! Everyone Should Do It!

Gotta do something with my time! When you don’t have time, there is always a lot to do. When you do have time, you often don’t do the things you can do. Who hasn’t declared that “when I’m not working, or on vacation” they will get XYZ done?! Those books to  organize, the room to redecorate, the whatever that is on your to-do list…  It seems that busy keeps you busy, slow and bored, keeps you slow and bored.  Like attracts like!  You pull towards you more what you think, what you embrace and what you do.

I now have a lot of time for gardening and slowly but surely I have been doing it more and more.  The ultimate therapy for me! I am forcing myself to stay busy, especially with the things I enjoy.  Today I came to a revelation while I was out tending my gardening. Unexplainably I started to notice a change in my plants.  It seems odd that I would just notice today, but as they say, “When the student is ready” the teacher truly does appear. The plants looked so much better, seemingly ever so grateful for the attention, the water, the nurturing and love they are now getting EVERY DAY!

As I have mentioned before, my previously busy work life led me to be more of a laissez-faire gardener. I love gardening but with long work days and work weeks, many a plant was left to their own devices.  On the one day out of the week when I was home and not catching up on my house chores or otherwise I was often surprised to find a bloom or a fruit on a tree in my garden.

Today I stood looking almost surprised that the plants were more lush, more fruitful, more quick to respond to the ever-growing attention. Way back in a shady area of my back yard I have a small patch of heliconias and ginger lilies that have been growing there for many years. The truth is, they have been surviving more than growing. I was grateful when there was an occasional bloom, but more often than not, I would question why they didn’t bloom. To me, they looked healthy.  “I should have been seeing far more blooms!”, I’d think.  The connection why they weren’t any was lost to me then. Student clearly not ready then!

In that same patch of heliconias, the gentleman who regularly cut my lawn would remove the dead leaves and flowers.  I appreciated that he did it then, but didn’t really understand the real value of it.  What he was doing was deadheading. Times have changed since then, he left and the plants were on their own surviving among dead flowers and leaves.

To me, as somewhat of an organic gardener,  if your garden is “well balanced” with flora and fauna it will thrive.   I have recently come to discover, that is not exactly how things thrive.  By reading more about plants I have and recently purchased,  I noticed the repeated mention of the benefits of deadheading.  I never really dead headed or believed there was any great truth to it. But as I looked at my heliconia patch, a mix of dead leaves, stalks, flowers and branches, I moved in to start the process of deadheading. The teacher was appearing at last, as the student was ready. Today it made sense, when before it had not. I needed to deadhead my plants to see progress.



As I worked my way through it I reflected that this process was such a metaphor for life. We all need to remove the dead, negative and useless in our lives so that we can flourish. I thought about how my own stubbornness delayed the process of deadheading my plants and the impact of it. There were less blooms and less happy plants.  I have held on to people and projects and processes in my life for way too long because of my own stubbornness and refusal to believe that it was for the best. And once I deadheaded them, my life began to flourish.  Even when it was suggested that I deadhead my plants I did not listen!  I repeated that same behavior in my life. I have had friends and family who suggested that I “deadhead” the people and things in life that were holding me back. Only after going through the painful journey did I learn it to be true.   Even then, I isolated each incident, not realizing that this was a practice I needed to perform in general, across the board, in all areas of my life. And in all areas of my garden.

I went through the heliconia patch with growing enthusiasm,  and as I stood back to look, it became clearer figuratively and literally.  Everyone should deadhead!! I am now being more thoughtful about gardening!  I read up on what conditions each plant thrives in best, assess the climate conditions of my garden and the movement of the sun before I strategically placed them. The results have been quite noticeable! The same applies to how I live my life. Look around at your life with a new set of eyes.  See what is withered, past its prime, holding you back. Snip, snip! It may seem pointless at first, even mean perhaps, but things will renew and refresh in ways you could not possibly imagine. Be reflective and careful in this process. You don’t want to snip a new shoot!

Focus and find clarity in what makes you happy. Stay busy, stay charged, stay grounded and open to new thoughts, ideas and opportunities. It took a few days or so to see the benefits of my deadheading.  If it is one thing that I have realized during all that, is that change truly is constant. The moment you sit back and rest on your laurels, you stagnate.  I plan to stay busy,  keep deadheading and watch for new growth, new blooms and the hope of great things to come.




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