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Hidden in plain sight

I don't know about you, but I become very aware of teasels at this time of year. Not only are their beautiful spiky seed heads to be seen in just about any area of grassland or waste ground that you come across, but they also feature in many a festive wreath or flower arrangement. But have you ever actually seen a teasel when its in flower? I bet the vast majority of us haven't! Amazing how we can overlook such a large and striking plant when it is, arguably, at its best! The first time I really clocked the beauty of a teasel in flower was in a friend's garden, where she has grown them especially to feed insects and birds. The bees were loving them, and goldfinches and other birds love teasing

out the seeds the autumn and winter. My friend was given the seeds by here father, who was a great nature lover; he had collected them by hand. If you want teasels in your garden but don't have the time or inclination to collect them yourself, never fear - you can buy them! You will have to have a little patience, though, as they are a biennial plant, so only flower every second year. But once they have established, they are very good at self seeding.

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