Out front the cobweb thistle is amazing and delighting passers-by. It's almost six feet tall, and covered in purple flowers. On the fourth, the people down the block had their annual block party, and a father and daughter came walking by to get some quiet time. She was fascinated by the thistle, so much so that he had to drag her away. This weekend, two people came and asked me what it was and how I got it to grow that big (answer: it does that naturally in sandy soil).
I can understand the fascination: I love this plant, as weird and prickly as it is. The blooms are so soft: you can pet them for hours. The bees love it, too, spending their time nuzzling down into the fluffy flowers. Our honeybee population is very low this year, but the few we have are all out front, dividing their time between the thistle and the lavender. We've had native bees out back in the dahlias and so forth, but for the most part the honeybees seem to ignore those flowers.
I doubt I would plant a whole garden of thistles, if only because of the prickle factor, but one specimen is a nice accent. And it keeps greedy hands out of the roses, too.
posted by ayse on 07/11/06