By Barbara Mellon
My garden here on Doig Hollow leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it doesn’t even exist. Oh, give me a nice flat piece of ground full of halfway decent soil and I can stuff it with store-bought plants with the best of them. Remember to water and weed and a garden is born. But faced with rocky soil, steep inclines and a plethora of thorny wild blackberry bushes, I’ve thrown in the towel. Instead of struggling to grow the lush perennials I’m so fond of, my “garden” simply consists of whatever wildflowers or flowering weeds that Mother Nature has opted to bestow.
Among the many varieties that pop up throughout the spring and summer, there is one whose appearance intrigues me. This is the Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). A tall stalk lined with prickly leaves is topped by a bulbous head from which grows pinkish purple hair. Every time I see these odd looking flowers I am reminded of the little troll dolls that were so popular when I was a kid.
Originally from Europe and Asia and brought to the eastern United States in colonial times, perhaps because it is the national flower of Scotland, research states that the Bull Thistle is a fairly invasive weed that is often found in fields and pastures. In some states, although not New York, it is included on the official list of “noxious weeds.” Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Too bad; I was hoping to make these easy-to-grow “flowers” the focal point of my garden! ~