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Hi guys,

I'll get straight to the point, we have had a large (4ft) Scottish thistle growing in a quiet not used corner of our garden for a few years now. We have recently got serious about gardening and our garden. My wife now wants to get rid of it, she says its a weed and  can seed all over the new garden, i think it is a magnificent plant with great structure and full of scottish symbolism ( though i wouldn't want any more of them).Anyways we have both agreed to abide by what ever the majority of yous guys decide.. Over to yous keep or kill?..




  • Lovely as your thistle may be, you live to regret the day you let it set seed! I've made similar mistakes myself, and learning from these would now never risk letting an invasive plant (no matter how attractive) grow, flower and set seed.

    My advice would be to be brave, and remove it.

  • AnnieseedAnnieseed Posts: 21

    Hi Davie, why don't you show the thistle the door (so to speak) but replace it with something that looks like a thistle - and a giant one, at that? 

    Get a cardoon - or three! They're magnificent - just the same structure as thistles, but much bigger! They don't spread, they're really easy to grow from seed so you can acquire them for a couple of quid, they don't spread but will last for years - I've had mine for 13 now - and if you want Scottish symbolism, these'll give you giant Scottish symbolism image What's more, you can also eat them. I'd post a pic if I only knew how - but Google cardoon and you'll see what i mean.

  • AnnieseedAnnieseed Posts: 21

    PS - I agree entirely with Adam about leaving an invasive plant in situ, unless you have masses of room to play with.  I made the great mistake about a decade ago of buying one, tiny wild violet to plant in my smallish garden. So pretty, I thought.  One of the biggest gardening mistakes I ever made - all these years later, I still spend a huge amount of time each spring and summer trying to remove this dogged little thug from every conceivable nook, cranny and crevice. Wild violets - don't do it!! image

  • I'll just add that my comments above equally apply to any invasive or spreading plant, and not just to weeds. I've made the mistake in the past of planting mint in a border, which unsurprisingly has not stayed put. Also that great idea of growing some horseradish will not be repeated, along with the idea of growing a patch of comfrey to make fertiliser or addd to the compost heap. Phlox spreads too much, not to mention epimedium. I could go on.....

  • AnnieseedAnnieseed Posts: 21

    Phlox and epimediums are lovely, though, and you can easily dig 'em out! And no one would be without mint - fresh applemint,  not the anorexic spearmint that comes in pots in the supermarket. You need lots of it to make mint sauce, so a pot won't really do - I think you just have to let it run its course in a spot you don't need for anything else. 

  • Thanks for your input and advice Annie & Adam, it is with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye that i have to agree with you's both, and get rid of my rather dashing weed, it also means i have to agree with my wife (hummpphh)

    Had a look online at the cardoon Annie, oh yes that should more than make up for my thistle thank you very much for that..

    Thanks again guys


  • Hi Percy, as a compromise why don't you let the thistle flower but then cut the flower off before it seeds? Then you get to enjoy your thistle but it won't spread all over your garden.


  • Dig it out and put it in a sunning pot on the patio or somewhere it cant seed xx

  • Hi Percy,

    What I'd like to know is what has happened in the past few years that you've been growing it. If you've already had it a few years, has it already self-seeded all over the garden and what did you do about that?

    Emma team

  • davids10davids10 Posts: 894

    if your thistle is onopordum giganteum i would say leave it-in my garden it comes up here and there, occasionally even in the right place but how wonderfully sculpural it is. in the last few weeks i have done my annual spring thinning and eradication of the overly enthusiastic-i think the close attention pays off in culture of the garden and if you keep all the spreaders out you lose so many chance and fugitive beauties-however i must say that phlox davidii is quite beyond the pale. emma crawforth if you read this what is the story about downloading pix, the site says no-is there some trick to it? i fogot to day that onopordum has occasionally reached 3 meters in my garden

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