Noxious but nice?

I am always on the lookout for curious forms of plants and am sometimes tempted to buy and grow them even though they are not necessarily better than anything familiar. I think we are all seduced by the novel.

You will be relieved to know, for the state of my sanity, that the plant above is not something I bought. It is the common, creeping thistle, Cirsium arvense, a noxious weed according to the Irish Noxious Weeds Act 1936 under which ‘any person responsible for land on which these weeds are growing is liable, on conviction, to be fined

I won’t say where I found these but I think that Ireland’s financial worries would be over if the law were upheld, and a lot of farmers bankrupted.

Anyway, back to the thistle; I have two reasons to mention it. Primarily it is because I found a large colony where all the flowers were white. I cannot remember ever seeing a creeping thistle with white flowers before. They are usually lilac. The photo above shows the two but it is not very clever to photograph a white flower against a white background so here it is again on a bench.

It is not unattractive but it is a vicious, spiny, invasive son of a ***** and should not be allowed in the garden.

And it brings me to my second point. Although I love white flowers they must die neatly. The effect of them is totally ruined, for me, if they turn brown when they die. This is why I cannot plant white buddleias – I might if I had time to deadhead them every two days. The heads of fluffy seeds (fruits) don’t look that dirty on the normal form but look like the back end of a sheep against these white flowers.

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3 Comments on “Noxious but nice?”

  1. tonytomeo
    August 13, 2019 at 1:02 am #

    White is my favorite color; but does not work for all flowers. There are many that really are at their best in other colors. Bougainvillea looks quite bland in white, which is just wrong for a vine that is famous for flamboyance. (It is also one that holds its flowers as they fad. No one knows why.)

    • thebikinggardener
      August 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

      Well don’t forget that in bougainvillea the ‘flowers’ are really bracts. And yes, I agree. I feel the same for agapanthus – it is one of the few truly blue flowers so why plant a white one!

      • tonytomeo
        August 16, 2019 at 4:29 am #

        Even as bracts, they linger. White bougainvilleas are weird anyway.

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