Echinops ritro is the ultimate fast food for bees, and you hardly ever see a flower in bloom without a bee feasting on it. Easy to grow, this hardy perennial prefers a sunny situation. After flowering I leave the seed heads for the birds, before cutting down to ground level.

Bumble bee on Echinops ritro

I love cutting flowers from the garden to bring into the house. I recently bought this cute little basket and bottles recently and decided to go with a purple colour theme of this arrangement, which includes Thalictrum, scabious, lavender, poppy, fennel, allium.

Flower arrangement in bottles

Thalictrum delavayi is just starting to flower and caught my eye today, along with the spider’s web suspended between the buds. Thalictrum, commonly known as Meadow rue,  is such a delicate looking plant, with leaves like maidenhair fern, but it not only survives on our heavy clay soil, but positively thrives! It flowers all summer long and when foliage dies back, I cut it right down to the ground. It regrows the following Spring – with possibly a new seedling or two nearby.

Thalictrum ©www.LavenderHedge.co.uk

The lavender is at its peak right now. One of my favourite flowers and loved by the bees as well! It is easy to grow in a sunny border or container. I always like to dry some of the flowers for winter flower arrangements indoors. Just tie together some of the flower spikes and hang upside down until dry.

Lavender flower spike

This Giant Scotch Thistle stands majestically in the border at around nine feet tall and has just started to flower, which the bees will go made for! It is a biennial flower which will self seed readily. When I see the seedlings pop up I move them to where I want them to flower, usually at the back of a border where they are not going to attack passers-by (the leaves are very prickly!)

Onopordum acanthium

When this flower arrived in my garden a few years ago I thought it was just another weed. I found out that the root can be eaten, although I have never tried it – I just enjoy the flowers! Also known as Oyster plant, it is a prolific self-seeder so if you don’t want too many of these plants, remove the dead flower heads before they seed everywhere!

Salsify wildflower