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Ornamental foliage Thistles

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Some "Thistles" have foliage as decorative as their flowering. In the case of the Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum, found in fallow fields and along paths, the prickly nature of the leaves doesn't prevent one from appreciating their admirable white patterns, either marbled or dotted. The Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), a star in the vegetable garden, doesn't disappoint in large beds where it forms huge bouquets of almost white leaves, adorned like artistic ironwork. In the case of Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost', the leaves are delicately bordered with pink and cream. Meanwhile, those of the cone thistle, Onopordum nervosum, with their large grey and furry leaves perfectly matched to the thick, branched stems covered in a cottony white, are an adornment. Eryngium variifolium is a particularly graphic sea holly, whose foliage is adorned with very pronounced white veins. The thistles are not demanding, easy to grow, and incomparable for adding spice to a bed. They are ornamental with their uniquely designed flowers, very long-lasting in beds as well as in fresh or dried bouquets. 

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