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Prickly & Beautiful Plants for the Garden

Butterflies and finches love them, but most gardeners spend hours removing prickly thistles from the garden. But here are a few thistle-like plants you may actually want to plant in your garden.

Scotch thistle (Onopordium acanthium), symbol of Scotland, provides a unique architectural feature in the garden and landscape. Legend has it the Scotch thistle caused attacking Vikings to scream in pain when moving in for a sneak attack on the Scotts.

Enjoy the blue flowers of Globe thistle (Echinops ritro) in the garden or bouquet. This salt tolerant, pollinator friendly plant was popular during the Victorian era. 

The steely blue flowers and drought tolerance of sea hollies (Eryngium) are a welcome site in the summer garden. Provide adequate drainage for the greatest success.

The reseeding biennial, Miss Wilmott’s Ghost (Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Wilmott’s') was named for an eccentric rather prickly English gardener. She secretly dropped seeds of this prickly plant in her neighbors’ yard that appeared after her death.

A bit more information:Some of these plants may be invasive in certain regions. Always check with your local extension service or the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States before adding these and other plants to your garden.

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