Like edging a lawn, dead-heading is one of those tasks regarded by some as a complete form of social death. In both instances, they are wrong. This is a job for a quiet time, in the cool of the evening, involving no great effort or discomfort. It does, however, require careful observation and a methodical approach. With roses, remove the dead flower and sufficient shoot back to the next outward-facing bud. With many herbaceous perennials, reach further down with your secateurs, following the flowered shoot into the interior. Fresh greenery and, in some instances, another flush of flowers will follow.

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