Great globe thistle/blue thistle is a garden work horse thriving in many different climates and in just about any soil. This perennial starts with spiny-edged leaves that are white and woolly underneath, and flowers reliably in mid-summer, turning its green orb into this intensely blue, globe-shaped flower. The thistle grows two to five feet tall and almost as wide. Because it is showy and offers accessible nectar, female bees seek exclusively for food for their larvae as well as for themselves, sweeping up the abundant pollen with their abdominal brushes as they feast without effort.
Here is the same thistle I photographed on July 8, 2012 before it bloomed. Based on previous experience photographing this thistle, I thought it wouldn't be until the end of July that this thistle would bloom. But perhaps the dreaded heat we've been experiencing this summer changed that estimated timeline?
Photo captured July 17, 2012.
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