I’ve had quite a few comments from my six on Saturday talking about the teasel. It is a plant that divides opinions. The teasel has featured a number of times over the year in my six on Saturday and now seems a good time to look closer at it.
The original reason I planted teasel was to benefit wildlife through the year. Through the Summer they have attracted in all manner of pollinators.
The bees and hoverflies have swarmed over them.
Some of the butterflies have been visiting too. The holly blues have been visiting in greater numbers this year and seem to like the teasel.
One of the main reasons for planting teasel was to attract birds. Goldfinches love it. They favour lowland woodland and hedges, but are increasingly found on our bird feeders with people putting out nyger seed.
Teasel is undeniably a striking shape. It has large leaves followed by the tall seed heads. Mine has grown to a very high height this year, much larger than I generally see when it’s growing wild. It stands out in the border and is lovely for bringing inside. I’ve taken a few cuttings and allowed it to dry out.
You want me to hit you with a stick
But all I’ve got is a guitar pick
Huh, baby, you’re so vicious”Lou Reed
Teasel is incredibly spikey. The leaves are spikey, the stems are spikey, the flowers are spikey. My gold leaf gloves have come in use again and again dealing with them. I wouldn’t be suprised to find spikey roots if I dug it out. It is vicious.
It also takes up a lot of space. The leaves initially are very large maybe 30-50cm long. This means it takes up a lot of space in the border with a big footprint on the ground and it is tall and not very neat in it’s growth unless carefully tied, which I haven’t done. As I’ve mentioned it is vicious so it was tied up where I could reach through without risking body and limb.
It self seeds quite freely. So if you decide you don’t want it anymore it can be a pain. I haven’t this an issue yet, but have a sneaking feeling that my neighbours may have it growing in future as I think the wind will take it that way.
All in all I’ve enjoyed having this in the garden this year, but not sure I’d allow it again due to space restrictions. It has been a pleasure seeing the goldfinches on it though.