{Almost} Wordless Wednesday :: Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by Trillium Art

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We are enjoying the many visitors to our garden this summer.  The finches are flashing their glorious yellow mating colours and a young family of cardinals have been busy in the feeder.  Not to be outdone, the four-legged visitors have been very active too!  The groundhog is busy eating the fallen apples and the bunnies are very good at teasing the poor puppy!

The visitors I have not seen in abundance this summer are the butterflies.  I did see my first Monarch a few weeks ago while on one of our walks.  He was enjoying the flowers of a milkweed and wouldn’t you know, it was the one time I did not have a camera or my phone! (shame on me 🙁 )  Of course, I haven’t seen one since!

Our gardens are slowly taking shape…first in my mind, then in the ground.  Like many of you, I am hoping to encourage more pollinators; bees, butterflies and others to the garden.  I am keeping a running tab of the many perennials that these pollinators find attractive.  One of them is the unique, late summer flowers of the Globe Thistle or Blue Hedgehog Thistle (love that name!), native to Central Asia, Southern and Eastern Europe.

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Even though it has thistle in the name, it is mostly well-behaved and will not spread through the garden.  It may self-seed but not invasively.  The busy, upright form will be great towards the back of the border where the globed-shaped blue flowers will rise above the foliage on thick, rigid stems.  The flowers are quite soft, not prickly at all.  First impressions can be deceiving!

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This bold perennial offers wonderful colour and contrasting texture to the garden.  Be sure to leave the light blue seedheads in the fall to add interest in your winter gardens.

Zone:  3

Light Conditions:  full sun

Height:  36” – 40”

Spread:  24” – 28”

Foliage:  steely-grey, deeply lobed, thistle-like foliage that is whitish underneath

Flower Power:  violet-blue, golf-ball sized flowers from July to September, atop rigid stems

Tips:  attractive to butterflies, bees and an excellent as a cut flower, fresh or dried

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