My plant of the week is Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropureum’. Although it is from the thistle family it is by no means a weed! It is an ideal plant to attract bees and butterflies into the garden and also a handsome addition to a border. Unlike other thistles you do not need to handle this one with care as this ‘garden friendly’ variety has none of the prickly attributes of its distant cousins.
In my garden bees a plenty are getting drunk on nectar from my plant and at least six varieties of bumble bee are wallowing on the plants perfectly designed landing pads. Totally oblivious of our presence we were able to watch closely as they concentrated on the job in hand and almost getting into a stupefied state, it was fascinating!
About ten years ago this was ’The plant’ at Chelsea Flower Show and I am proud to have been a dedicated follower of floral fashion, as this plant has never let me down!
In design terms this plant is ideal to use at the back of the border as its tall heads proudly stand over one metre high; however in my garden it takes centre stage in my east facing border. Combined with Alliums, Aquilegias, Rosa ‘Iceberg’, Astrantia major and Clematis ‘Henyi’ it is the feature plant in my dark pink and white border.
Hopefully I have tempted you to consider this plant for your garden - and for the bees!