A Prickly Perspective


This thistly entity is a teasel flower. It is borne aloft a magnificently statuesque plant most often to be found on waste ground. It seeds promiscuously and every part of the plant is prickly. In past times some of those prickles were put to good use. The dried flower heads were split and pinned to a cruciform structure, called a teasel cross or card (a bit like a table tennis bat) and used in the weaving industry to raise the nap on finished cloth.

There are photos and more information HERE.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you what kind of little bumble bee this is; the ID charts defeated me though my best guess is a carder bee. (Which would be appropriate).  I anyway like the way its colour scheme ‘goes’ with the teasel’s ashy tones. I also admired the way it picked its way so gingerly through the spiny elements to reach the nectar in the tiny segmented florets.

This scene was captured over the garden fence in the guerrilla garden, where all is presently thriving. Here is a field-side perspective with the teasel bringing up the rear. I transplanted it as a seedling found on an abandoned allotment plot. I might just regret the introduction, but for now it’s looking rather splendid.



Square Perspective #27

32 thoughts on “A Prickly Perspective

  1. what a photograph, and what a clever bee. This is wonderful. Happy for you to send me some teasel seeds, might defeat the ground elder!

    1. Now that’s an interesting notion, Becky. Teasel leaves MIGHT overshadow ground elder. Anyhow, am happy to send you seeds in the autumn. If you’re really sure…

      1. yes please, I would love to try. Trying horseradish in one corner at moment so teasel in another be great 🙂

      2. Horseradish v. teasels now there’s an interesting horticulturla duel in the making. Have recently discovered that young horseradish leaves are v. tasty.

      3. Ooh didn’t know that. Might try.

        Apparently I have the Romans to blame for the groundelder. They liked young elder leaves!

      4. They’ve got a vaguely parsnippy scent when you pull them up. Looked at in a different way, old time Gardener’s Question Time host, Eric whatshisname, always contended that ground elder was the best ground cover plant ever and we should celebrate it.

    2. Have you tried covering the ground elder with cardboard and then mulch? Apparently that can kill it off, though it make take a few layers.

      1. Now that’s a v. useful thing to try, and v. annoying that my OH has just recycled all the cardboard I was saving for allotment paths (when I had some more chippings). Must raid sister’s shop for more supplies. I have a potential ground elder invasion advancing through the guerrilla garden just now. Def. don’t want it in the actual garden.

      2. I did in one part of the garden, and for a year or so afterwards it did work but then because I hadn’t controlled it in neighbouring patches it was soon back. Probably if I was out there daily I would finally win this battle, but I am just too sporadic a gardener to defeat ground elder!

  2. The guerrilla garden is wonderful – nice to have an extra garden to cultivate where you can grow plants you might not want in the actual garden.

  3. Informative and fun, as your posts invariably are. And I will second your guess regarding the Carder Bee.

    Nice to ‘hear’ you sounding chirpy.

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