PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Blue Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)

This one completely blew our minds this summer with the seemingly endless blooms and the months-long bee bacchanalia they incited. We planted six of them two years ago around a flowering cherry tree cuz they were small & cute and added a cool texture.

Yes, we lose our minds like everyone else and plant too many things when they are young and cute and then when they grow up we’re like, “Oh, ffs…I didn’t think they were supposed to get that big!”. Then, like good ruthless gardeners, we tear out all but one and use the newfound space to plant three other different things.

First year, they stayed small & cute. Second year they reached 2-3 feet and bloomed nicely. This year they reached 6 feet (foliage – 3-4 ft.) and had hundreds of blooms which started out silvery pale blue-violet and progressed, darkening over summer to indigo. When the individual flowers in the globe shaped cluster started opening the wild bees, honey bees, and hummingbirds went nuts. It was crazy and went on for months. We counted nine bees on one golf ball sized bloom but that wasn’t unusual. It was fun just standing and watching the feeding frenzy.