Full, cobalt- blue thistles on stiff branching stems top jagged silver foliage on this giant, architectural cardoon that revels in hot sun
- Position: full sun
- Soil: well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Hardiness: hardy annual
Piercing, bright blue flowers with ruffled petals and violet-blue centres appear from early to late summer among lance-shaped, mid-green leaves. Once a common sight in cornfields, this lovely annual is perfect for naturalising in a sunny wildflower meadow and is a magnet for butterflies and bees. The flower petals are edible and have a clove-like taste.
- Garden care: Wild flowers prefer poor soils, so do not apply fertiliser. Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering. In autumn, cut the faded flowerheads down to the ground and compost the dead stems.
There’s nothing like a lawn to bring the various elements of a garden together as it’s easy on the eye and helps highlight other more ornamental features. Best of all, it adds much needed space to the garden and provides evergreen continuity too. But a laRead full article
If you have redundant space in your heated greenhouse why not try sowing a few flowering annuals such as cornflowers, calendulas, godesia and nemesia for pots of colourful blooms next spring? Sow in trays of compost and prick out seedling when large enRead full article
Hardy annuals such as candytuft, California poppy and cornflowers sown direct last month into a prepared seedbed [link to making a seedbed] will need thinning to the correct spacing. Thin the flower seedlings when they are large enough to separate so theRead full article