Gadding about Globe thistles...



Echinops ritro in the wild, near Troy
I doubt many people would be globe thistles too high on their favorite lists: more is the pity. I love the thistle-like foliage and wonderfully prickly flowers. I have admired these over the years in the wild--from all around the Mediterranean to the Altai Mountains in Central Asia--everywhere they stand out in the landscape and provide wonderful closeup images, often bristling with insects. And they are endlessly variable, as this picture I took a year ago shows.


And they are much more diverse than first meets the eye: here is a tiny monocarp from Kazakhstan. We collected this on steep screes in the Altai. It bloomed, but we didn't get viable seed in the garden--so alas, it's a memory!



A closer view of the unknown species from Kazakhstan.

Echinops ritro 'Veitch’s Blue'
An especially vibrant sapphire colored form growing in the El Pomar Waterway at Denver Botanic Gardens--planted only a year ago!

Echinops ritro 'Veitch’s Blue'
 A closer shot of the same...


And from further away: I find this planting to be utterly delightful! Credit goes to Mike Holloway--one of DBG's incredible horticulturists. A fabulous eye for design and raucous sense of humor to boot.

Echinops ruthenicus
Here is one of the giants of the genus, towering in the Perennial Border at DBG...


Echinops sp. ign. Kazakhstan
Alas, we never got seed of this stately beauty!

I love the contrast of white stem and blue flowers on this one...


And here is Echinops sphaerocephalus growing in my garden--a paler, but still very striking plant.





And here is Echinops sphaerocephalus growing in the Watersmart garden at D.B.G. Dan (in charge) assures me this is from our 2001 expedition to southern Spain.




I have an excessive fondness for Echinops (as do the bumblebees)
We finish with closeups of some giant echinops in the Birds and Bees garden at D.B.G...what other plant is so imposing from a distance and so intricate close up? (Rhetorical question--I can't think of any!)

Comments

  1. I always get a lot of insight from seeing plants in the wild. I hadn't had much success with echinops on the coast,but inland in a hotter summer climate they did great. Just as I would imagine them near Troy.

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  2. I always get a lot of insight from seeing plants in the wild. I hadn't had much success with echinops on the coast,but inland in a hotter summer climate they did great. Just as I would imagine them near Troy.

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  3. Are you a "Harry Potter" fan? or is it just coincidence that the title of your blog seems like something taken from one of J.K. Rowling's books?

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  4. I'm not a Harry Potter fan, I'm afraid, James. I find it unreadable. I'm a terrible literary snob, sorry! But I think J.K. Rowling is a splendid billionaire to give so much away.

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    1. I couldn't read her work either until my 9 year old son started reading it. It was hard for me to get interested in fiction again since I had not read any in so long. However, once my son read all the books in a matter of a few weeks I had to read some too so I could talk with him about them.

      In "Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets" the character Gilderoy Lockhart wrote a book called "Gadding With Ghouls." This reminded me of the title you had given to your post.

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