By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are some little gardening chores you can take or leave. Some that are merely cosmetic I tend to ignore, because Nature doesn’t need us fussing over it all the time.

All gardeners have their own tolerances for tidiness. But if you’re too fussy you can sometimes do more harm than good, such as pulling bulb leaves before they’ve gone brown – that’s bad for the bulbs. So, plant something in front of declining bulb foliage to hide the leaves until their done if you can’t stand how they look.

But removing the spent rhododendron flowers is something I do bother to do; partly because they look like giant spiders covered with wet crepe paper to me, and because I only have one rhododendron, which is right by the front door.

I usually wear gloves, because they can be sticky, and gently twist off each spent flowerhead, careful not to knock off next year’s new flowerbuds! Look and you’ll see them already starting to form right next to the old ones you’re removing.

But if you don’t want to deadhead it, don’t bother. Deadheading saves the plant some energy it would spend making seed heads, but really, your rhododendron won’t care much either way.

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