Butterfly Bush Beautification

I've got several butterfly bushes in my garden. I have more this year than I did last year. I didn't buy any new ones this year -- they were volunteer seedlings. This can be a problem.

Yes, they're nice plants with beautiful, sweet-smelling blooms, but they produce seed. Lots of seed. They grow almost anywhere, especially in the cracks of my flagstone patio. I do not need shrubs growing in the middle of my patio.

If you take a look at this one specimen, you might be able to see the problem:

The ugly brown blooms are no longer attracting butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. In addition, they're getting ready to produce seeds. By removing the spent blooms (also known as "dead heading"), the plant will look much nicer, it will produce more blooms, and it won't reseed all over my yard.

This is a bloom that's just faded:

This is one that is a little older, and has started to produce some seed pods:

This one is bursting with seeds:

Normally I would have removed the faded blooms long before they started swelling with seed, but I just haven't been diligent with it this year.

So 10-15 minutes with the pruners and I've gotten most of them:

I've taken some half-spent blooms too, and some whole branches that were starting to block the stairs.

The plant looks much nicer now:

It looks like there are more blooms now, doesn't it? Strange optical illusion. I've got half a dozen more butterfly bushes to deadhead, but I won't document that here -- it would be quite repetetive. I also won't do them all today, as it's not the most interesting of garden tasks.

Besides, the cat standoff that I posted about yesterday is going on right now, and it's a little hard to concentrate on dead blooms.

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