Deadheading. That sounds pretty mysterious. Does your murder story include chopping someone’s head off? Or feature a zombie with a dead head, whatever that would be? We’re not talking about following a laid back folk-rock band, either.
But no, deadheading is actually just lopping off a flower after it has bloomed. Flowers are ovaries, and, when they are finished being showy and pretty, turn into seed production factories. But if you want the plant to continue to grow and thrive, and put out new flowers, in general you need to remove the old flower.
Right now in New England the daffodil family is blooming. Jonquils, narcissus, all those bright yellow and white trumpet-shaped flowers brighten our still-cool days and make us smile. The flowers come from a bulb, and the bulb only contains so much energy. If it puts its energy into making a nice fat seed pod, it has less to make new flowers and to let its leaves replenish nourishment to the bulb and grow bulblets.
Many flowering plants benefit from deadheading all summer long. I didn’t know about this until one time some years ago an older friend was visiting, and while we sat on my deck sipping wine and chatting, she moved from hanging pot to hanging, pinching off the old blooms. Now I do the same at friends’ houses. Depending on the tenderness of the stalk, you can use scissors or just pinch them off with your fingers.
SINC New England’s own Rosemary Harris even published a mystery called Deadhead, the third in her Dirty Business Mystery series.
Readers: Do you deadhead? Or does it give you an idea for a story?
Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods mystery series from Kensington Publishing, in which geek-turned-organic farmer Cam Flaherty grows produce for members of the Locavore club, but also has to solve more than one case of locally sourced murder.