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By kowhai


According to the Farlex Freee Online dictionary, the teasel is an

“Upright prickly biennial herb, native to Europe and Asia. It grows up to 1.5 m/5 ft tall, has prickly stems and leaves, and a large prickly head of purple flowers. The dry, spiny seed heads were once used industrially to tease or fluff up the surface fibres of cloth. (Dipsacus fullonum, family Dipsacaceae.)”

Several years ago, on one of my cycle circuits, I noticed a really good clump of teasels growing in a field, and when it was seed time, I collected some and next season, tried growing some plants from seed. Success! Only, we got the seedlings confused, and thought they were primula seedlings, so eventually planted them out in a kind of naturalized way along the border, only to realize as they grew small spines that these were no primulas! So, we removed most of them, and when the remainder reached maturity, we had several tall teasels in the border.

They, in turn, self seeded, and now they seem to be a permanent fixture. This suits me, as more or less anything which can survive, grow and self seed is welcome. The biggest of them is now more like 2m tall, its nearby siblings being more like 1.5m tall. They are now coming into flower, as shown in the photo. They’re already popular with the bees, so are replacing the loosestrife which has now faded, as a nectar source.

In fact, the garden is now into that kind of summer doldrums, where the great burst of flowering in May and June is well over, and the remaining plants are looking a bit glum. That’s why the day lilies are such a boon, late flowering though they are, since they provide a vivid splash of orange in the border, while the nearby acanthus, though not colourful, is ‘interesting’ and provides some more ‘architectural’ interest.

The nasturtiums have, at last, come into flower, much later than elsewhere, and not quite in the abundance hoped for, but at least they are performing. Also, the hostas have been flowering well. This has been a bumper year for them, and even though the slugs have managed to gain access to one or two of them, their foliage is still in good form. At least the slugs don’t seem to be interested in the salvia, which are providing great dabs of colour in the sunniest parts of the garden.

So, now it’s a time to start thinking about next year and what changes will be made in the autumn. The replacement of the fence along the north but south facing border will be a major exercise, and will provide an opportunity to get rid of the ivy and other invasive plants. Since this is a sunny spot, and the roses in that part of the border have thrived, I think I’ll plant a rose or two to grow up the wall: suggestions welcome!

Meanwhile, we’re enjoying seeing the teasels come into flower and are pleased that the bees enjoy visiting them too.

More blog posts by kowhai

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Thanks for that I enjoyed reading it though I am not ready to think of next year yet lol.

19 Jul, 2010


`What a great read, all about the Teasel...i did have this in my garden, when
it had stopped flowering, did not know what to do with it? So, i cut it down, did
not realise that, you had to save the seeds...Grrrr..the stumps are stil left in
the ground. `Do i still leave them there? Or take them out, and count my
losses, and start again? Your Garden looks so lovely, `what a lovely Haven
for the Wildlife!! Your garden is also very interesting, & well planned, it will
add interest with some Roses up against that wall...thanks, for this info,
on Teasel, kowhai...enjoyed it tremendously....

19 Jul, 2010


lovely blog and i love teasels too.

19 Jul, 2010

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