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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?..


Adam Pasco

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.


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  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.


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!! 

Adam Pasco

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.....



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


Kate Bradbury

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

Emma Crawforth

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

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


First things first, Kate i actually thought of cutting the flower off before it seeds, though i never mentioned this to Mrs Grower, i was keeping that as my back up plan if i lost the dispute....

Elsa please excuse my ignorance i have no idea what a sunning pot is, i'll have to look that one up online....

David much the same as Elsa please excuse my lack of gardening knowledge to me it is a thistle wether it's an onopordum giganteum or not i have no idea..

Last but not least, Emma, the short answer is "yes" according to Mrs grower she has dug a good few of the young thistle plants out of the main garden over the last few years which was news to me, Just to give you some background i never really botherd with the garden to busy with work and other things, Mrs grower likes to potter about in the garden but nothing serious, but since last summer we have really got stuck into the garden we have built a lovely pond with waterfall & decking, built planters, dug out yards and yards of sunflowers that were left to do as they wish, and made and planted up lovely beds and borders,built a new gardening shed and a poly tunnel in short we have spent a lot of money done a lot of hard work in the garden, hence why the thistle wasn't a concern before but is now..

Thanks all, for your ideas and suggestions


sorry i meant to say a 'stunning pot' just meaning put it in a nice pot and make a feature of it somewhere where it can't seed all over x


Doh...I think you & i should patent the sunning pot idea Elsa..  ... I don't think there is such a place where you can put it, so that it wont seed, as it can travel for miles on the wind..I'm happy with the cardoon suggestion, and more importantly so is Mrs Grower..


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