I’ll be the first to admit that it scares me to death when I think about it. I’ve written more than one morbid poem inspired by it. And when I hear or read: “It’s just a part of life,” I don’t feel any better about it. But there is something about it that’s very intriguing.

Perennials go through a stage called dormancy during winter, so they’re not really dead. Healthy and long-lasting old shrub roses seem to be immortal, I know of one that’s been around at least 150 years.

You don’t see many photographs of spent flowers, either annuals or perennials. I guess they might be considered ugly or unsightly, but are they really?

I usually wait until the first snows fly before I cut any of the dried brown stuff. Last year, the Jays were late getting to the sunflowers, so I left them standing through January. Sometimes I’m even lazier and don’t bother with it till after the spring thaw. Y’all may be more or less vigilante about such things. (I saw Jays hang upside down to get at the sunflower seeds; you’d think there’d be an easier meal somewhere else.)

Basically, the term “dying back” means that a plant, typically a perennial, stops producing flowers in order to store energy in its below ground body that will help it live through winter. Perennials show off for a few months in summer then starting about late September, seem in a rush to be done with it.

We’re having a string of warm days with plenty of sunshine. But you’d think the perennials don’t want no more to do with it. I suppose they’re more intent on storing starch right now, regardless of what we’d rather see them do.

Here’s some poetry. Morbid? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just dying back.

Zombie Lovers

Could I go on
without feeling the loss,
if it never got broken,
wasn’t open to pain,
if it didn’t pump blood
would hurt go away?
If emotional strife
would leave it alone,
and it could do what
needed done,
would tears never fall,
cries go unheard?

I imagine a day
feeling nothing,
just being, existing.
Would zombie love
be better than nothing?

By TC Conner

Pro hobbyist photographer, drone enthusiast, musician, husband and father.

15 replies on “Dying”

your images are very beautiful. i love the images of life and death in the same photo. death doesn’t scare me at all. being in pain does though. i clip certain things and leave other for the birds to forage.

Susie: Thank you ma’am! It’s nice to know folks appreciate my pictures. I should probably cut and clip sooner than I do, but I’ve gotten lazier with age. ;~OAnd for those of you wondering what flowers I have pictured in this post they are, from top to bottom:RosesGaillardiaEchinaceaRudbeckiaCrocosmiaand Allium

Really nice photos T.C.. I usually clip my spent blooms. Not always immediately but seldom do I let them hang around for long.

Sherry: I just ordered a polarized filter kit for my Sony DSC H1. With all the sunshine we’ve had recently, I’ve needed one. But just watch what happens when the filter arrives; it’ll stay cloudy till spring! Katarina: Thanks so much for visiting from so far away. ;~) I’d love to visit your country some day. And thanks too for the compliment. Dark at 3 PM?? Geesh!Marnie: I was out in the gardens with my wife earlier and she wants to start all over with the front flower bed. So, it looks like I might be doin some “sweeping” before the first snows fly. spooky: You’re welcome, I enjoy reading new and interesting blogs and couldn’t resist yours. I’m waiting for a good photo op of a floating leaf. ;~)

Hi T.C. – Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your blog is interesting, great photos…on death…I believe there is a whole new experience waiting for us, in a good way! I’m at peace with the thought of “passing on”. And for the record…I leave all my seed heads on until spring.

I leave everything up all winter. I like the skeletons better than the swept earth look;) Then too, I’m pretty sick of garden work by fall. In the spring I cannot wait to wade out there and mulch, prune, get hung up and torn to ribbons in the rose canes…Marnie

Perennials and trees go to sleep during the dark seasons here, as do most Swedes… ; )It’s getting dark around 3 pm during winter – I hate that!You’ve got a very nice blog!/Katarina

Hi TC,Glad to meet you.I also leave most of the spent perennials up all winter. The birds do love the seeds and some stems are nice for winter perching. Like others here the winter interest is nice. As a photographer I need all the help I can get in the winter.Zombie love? LOL…perfect, we are going into October and the zombies will be out. I expect they will be looking for love. I do not mind dying as long as it is quick and with out pain. Looking forward to reading the rest of your journal.Namaste,Sherry

W2W: Thanks again for stopping and commenting. I’m not surprised to hear of others like myself. Other textures are much more noticeable once perennials wilt and disappear. Tina: You can have some of our snow! Although we don’t get hit hard like Erie or Buffalo, we’re right on the I-80 corridor which the local TV weatherwomen kind of use as a marker line that divides those areas that get heavy snow (north of I-80) to those that don’t get as much (south of I-80). Our place sits almost directly on the I-80/I-79 interchange. FD: I’m prone to dormancy during winter much like you my friend! And the leaves! I remember raking as a kid, it was a chore I dreaded. I don’t rake, not with mulching blades on the mowers. And my gardens are not near leaf-drop areas. Thanks goodness. Anna: Hello and thanks for dropping in. I don’t know if I could adjust to year-round gardening or not. I’d like to say I once gave it a whirl, but doubt that’ll happen. I complain during winter, and wish for summer. Sometimes I ain’t ever satisfied. ;~)

I’m the eternal optimist. I see Autumn as the beginning of new life. The roots grow stronger and the plant gets to rest. I’ve lived in some places where it is paradise all the time—it wasn’t fun. I like my seasons. Nice photos.

Perennials aren’t the only things that go dormant around here. I pretty much do the same thing during the winter months, but don’t seem to be storing any energy, darn. I also leave most of my dead stuff up until spring, only cutting down where I have to get to the leaves that can pile up to 2 feet because of the way the wind blows around my house.So, would you feel better about the thought of dying if you changed the words to “going dormant”. Nope, doesn’t work for me.

I leave my dead plants up too. The birds like them and I like the interest, especially if we ever get snow! Which is not often here:(

Beautiful photos, TC. I usually leave the “dead” things around the garden too and wait until spring for a good cleanup. I think they add a nice texture to the landscape and food for the critters (love bugs, anyone?). That idea of storing starch for the winter sounds like a good one to me. I wonder if it could be used to explain middle-age spread (expanding waistline)?

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