Echinops bannaticus (Taplow Blue)
This perennial dies back to below ground level each year in autumn, then fresh new growth appears again in spring.
Position: full sun
Soil: poor, well-drained soil
Rate of growth: average
Flowering period: July to August
Flower colour: bright blue
Other features: excellent cut-flowers
Hardiness: fully hardy
Spherical, bright blue flower-heads up to 5cm (2in) across in July and August and prickly, grey-green leaves. This gorgeous globe thistle is highly attractive to butterflies and bees. An eye-catching, yet undemanding perennial for the back of a herbaceous or mixed border, it's best planted in poor, well-drained soil in full sun.
Garden care: Lift and divide congested colonies in autumn or spring.