Love hurts

My prickly eryngiums are finally blooming, and to be honest I was a little disappointed by how underwhelming they were.  They gave me the longest wait ever, recently started to color up, and are finally looking cool.  Pollinators of all kinds love them, and these black and white wasps in particular swarm the plants from sunup to sundown.

pollinators on eryngium

The eryngium is very popular with the pollinators small and large.

They’re not as poky as you might think (although falling into a bed of lettuce would be the wiser choice), the more painful thing these plants offer is a nice wasp bite.  Most of the seedlings are a pale silvery color, but a few patches are showing an attractive blue tint.


A few of the eryngium plants are showing off a nice blue tint. I like them, but will be on the lookout for too many seedlings.

Being a lover of all plants which walk the border between spiny farmyard weed and interesting garden plant, I of course love these, but my disappointment comes from the expectation that these would be the famous “Miss Willmott’s Ghost”.  Miss Ellen Willmott was a fascinating gardener, and the strain of eryngium that bears her name should be a stouter plant with wider silvery bracts.  Mine are thinner and tall enough to risk flopping.

small flowered eryngium

These plants are biennials and although they’ll need replacing each year you shouldn’t complain about a plant that blooms itself to death.

While I was struggling to get a decent picture I came to the conclusion this is a real photographer’s plant, with it’s airy blooms, subtle coloring, and busy bug guests. A real photographer could do wonders with it!

I’m sure I’ll get the real ghost someday, but in the meantime there’s no shortage of spiny, dangerous plants in the flowerbeds.  Ptilostemon diacantha is another biennial thistle which I’m totally in love with.  This one’s a real killer though with sharp spines that don’t give up tennis balls easily.

ptilostemon diacantha

Ptilostemon diacantha with nicely lined leaves and spines that feel as sharp as they look.

Sure the spines keep you on your toes, but there are plenty of other thorns out there in the garden.  Can you say rosebush?  Find me a rose grower who never sat down with a box of bandages after wrestling with a wayward climber and I’ll show you a gardener who has a checkbook healthy enough to hire out all the crappy jobs 😉

rose livin' easy

Gratuitous rose photo from earlier in the month. It’s “Livin’ Easy” and I never see blackspot or fungus on it. If it weren’t for the “Knockout” tidal wave sweeping the country I’m sure this would be a much more popular rose…. even with all those nasty sharp thorns 🙂

Here’s my newest little baby.  I finally had success with the cirsium japonicum “white frosted” seeds which I’ve been trying each winter.  They’re everything I love in a plant, variegated foliage, mild spine-age, bold colored thistle blooms (I hope)….. it’s even a perennial (hopefully not an invasive one).  There will surely be plenty of gushingly over the top praise put onto this little plant in the future!

cirsium japonicum white frosted

One of the cutest baby pictures ever of cirsium japonicum “white frosted”.  I hope it grows up to be just as attractive an adult.

The wild bull thistles are blooming around the fringes of the garden and I’ll spare you from those photos.  Weeding will be a gloved affair, but can I just say the pollinators love them and the goldfinches will be thrilled?  Have a great end of the week 🙂