Sunday, August 31, 2014

Globe Thistles at The "New" Old Homestead Project


As I was wandering around the new old homestead (our newest Project or should I say "Adventure") I came across these wonderful Blueish-Siver Globe Thistles. I had never grown this flower or even seen them before. I had to look them up to identify them.  I do remember seeing the tall thistle stalks earlier in the season and I thought they were Scotch Thistle.  
Oh but the Globe Thistle has far more presence.  They are magical the way they interact with the light.... they are gorgeous really!   4-5 feet tall...  and irresistible not to go to them and cup your hands around them, a visual delight and a touch sensation....  and quite inviting to the insects as well.

But luckily they are Deer resistant.. and I have found that to be true because with as many deer that come on the property every single day ~ they do not touch them. So I am also guessing that most plants that persist here must also be deer resistant. Yes!
***



The distinctive slightly hairy, prickly thistle leaves of the Globe Thistle... that the deer don't care for.


Globe Thistles adrift in the hayfield.  They were so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures of them. 
What a wonderful surprise they were!   I love them.

*info on Globe Thistles: Here and Here

Gwen Buchanan and John Ackerson at Desideratum and The new Old Homestead Project.

24 comments:

Arija said...

A splendid little house, reminiscent of Anne's Green Gables. You two really are courageous. What you cal Globe Thistle looks to me like one of the large Alliums, a genus of plants that includes onions, garlic and leeks. It was an easy and spectacular garden plant to grow and introduced to both America and Australia by the early settlers. Your meadow full looks like a miracle.

A Heron's View said...

Hello Gwen your new Old House is taking the shape of a desirable residence and admittedly after all the hard work that John has put in then so it should.

The very first thought that came to my mind when I looked at your photo's is that it was the seed head of an onion or allium as Arija correctly said. I suggest that you dig one of them up and have a look at the root stock.

Penny said...


I too thought it looked more like the head of an allium than thistle.

WILDSIDE said...

You two must be amazingly patient to do as good work as you do... I am always struck by that and would like to have far more of that for myself! I go through life with "a lick and a prayer" -- something my mom taught me! But doesn't wind up with the beautiful results you get.

"This little frugal house will only have 1 bathroom.
... that means only 1 bathroom sink and 1 toilet to clean... Thumbs up, sounds good to me."

LOL! Oh, here you sound like me...

I didn't know the "Restore" outlets were so widespread! We found some great things there for our old house. Solid oak doors from an old school that had been torn down is what I remember.

Like the other commenters so far, I was thinking allium too -- but then I don't know anything! I don't know what a globe thistle is suppose to look like either. Either way, it is a gorgeously unusual flower you have there.

Have a good day, Gwen!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Arija, Mel, Penny and Wildside.
The flower head does look very much like an Allium bloom, decidedly so, which I grow in my St. Martins garden, from a distance that is what you would guess... the difference is the prickly thistle leaves (I added a picture of the leaves to the post,then 2 links at the bottom for the plant) and the very distinctive spiky feel when you wrap your hand around the bloom. They hold there shape, are quite firm, slightly prickly themselves and make great cut and dried flowers.

Wildside, yes there are Restore's in the major cities here in New Brunswick. .. but with their popularity the prices have gone up considerably since the time they opened, that's why I was so surprised to find the sink at this price... so I checked extra thoroughly to see if there was any cracks but it was sound..

WILDSIDE said...

Thanks for the links! You answered my question about where globe thistles were native to.

Excellent score on the sink!

A Heron's View said...

Well how amazing is that :) Thank you for correcting me and now am wondering if they are able to survive the Irish weather ?

Valerianna said...

I have blue globe thistle in my garden and love how they bloom. The color is sort of groovy as its zigzaggy blue-ish to green gradations. Wonderful, isn't it? Happy homesteading. Great sink!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Mel, for sure you could grow Globe Thistles in your climate.. We are in zone 5 here. I'm thinking your climate may be a bit milder. I hope everyone doesn't think I was being argumentative, These beauties are so lovely, I just want everyone to enjoy them.

Thanks Valerianna, You have the description exactly right-on! ... such a prickly plant with such a magical bloom!

Sharmon Davidson said...

Wow- you two have certainly made progress! Will this be a week-end get-away for you when it's finished? The house looks very much like something you'd see here in Kentucky.

The globe thistle is amazing; I think I just may have to get some for my garden.

George said...

The globe thistles are quite lovely. I've never seen them before. Looking forward to see all the things you do with the new house.

Guillaume said...

Lovely pictures, as usual. These thistles remind me of my childhood, I used to see thistles in September. One of the signs of autumn for me.

Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers said...

I love the first and last of your photos - the 'arty' ones. As for the photos of the reconstruction works - I am SO impressed with John's skills and the beauty of the finished product he achieves.

Gwen Buchanan said...

You're welcome, Wildside. Thanks!

Hi Sharmon, The old house project is a downsizing move... to have a place prepared, if and when we sell our house in St. Martins...hopefully we will be able to use much of the recycled building materials we have stored in the barn, such as stainless lab
counter, cabinets, sinks, many old doors, etc.. trying to kill 2 birds with one stone... clean-out and use-up..... but we will definitely use the little place as often as we can when we get it done.

Thanks George, for the encouragement, we will push ourselves through the bad to get on to the good.

Thanks Guillaume, I'm hoping the globe thistles spread their seeds and become even more plentiful.

Thanks Janice, Nature does provide moments for artful reflection, doesn't she, we just need to remember to pause and notice them.
John has gained most of his experience by necessity and it always helps as he goes along ... he would much rather not have to rip parts of the old building away but sadly, this old house was neglected for far too long. He sometimes does not realize how much progress he's made, being so close to the project... But I constantly reassure him he is definitely moving forward. Someday all his hard work will be rewarded!!

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Love your pictures. We grow globe thistle too here in North Wales. They are very tough and obliging if they like your soil. I love your house too. We too have taken on large restoration projects. They produce great highs and lows in our experience. Sometimes you wonder what on earth made you start. At other times the satisfaction is huge. Good luck with yours.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi and Thanks Elizabeth, I believe we could commiserate on the "highs and lows" of tackling an old house. but once one is invested, it is hard to turn back after a certain point. It is those annoying surprises that rear their ugly heads when you think you have got the problem tackled... very challenging and one has to keep looking forward beyond the next hump.
You and your husband have recreated a magical property!.. if we could achieve 1/2 that charm we would be happy. Cheers.

Faye Henry said...

Hi Gwen.. Love your new old homestead.. Belonging to you two of course it has much personality.. I can just imagine.. smile..
Did you know that the globe thistles grow in a raised bed beside the library in St. Martins? I remember the firs time I saw them that I loved them and wondered if they would dry.. They would look lovely in an old white milk pitcher, eh?
Take care and don't work yourselves too hard.. xo

Steven Cain said...

Looking good!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Faye, I never knew they grew there, that's not far from your place. I will look for them the next time I'm nearby. I'm sure they'd never miss a few if you wanted to test dry some. xo

Thanks Steven, Hope you had a good summer. Take care.

maya matthew said...

Hi Gwen,would you be game to participate in a blog hop?
If you would like to could you drop me a line at maya(dot)matthew(at)gmail(dot)com. Would appreciate it.

Jeri Landers said...

Hi Gwen, About the Thistle; I love the look of them but the farmers in our area hate them because they travel far and wide and mess with their crops. Oh well, they grow wild in our meadow and the goats just gobble them up, OUCH! Your John is an amazing craftsman.It is a comforting thought, when living in an old house, to know that it has been stabilized; YOU know what is under your floor. I DON'T! I wish my husband and I had the skills to do such a great job on our home's structure.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Jeri from the lovely pictures of your sweet home I believe yours is in 100 times better condition that this old thing. John has to replace all the windows.. and since this post he has ripped off that back lean-to section on the left side. That section had been built right on the ground and was rotten. the poor old thing had seen no mercy in its lifetime...
Want to trade? I need a fairy godmother.. haha.

Anne said...

Gwen - I'm really excited to see what you and John do with this new place, given the amazing things you did with your current home. I have a soft spot for these solidly-built but neglected old houses - I love that you're rescuing it (or as much as can be rescued)!! Lisa

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Lisa for your encouragement!! We can't wait to get back to it after our jewelry production phase of the year is taken care of. Old houses are always full of surprises esp. when their guts are ripped out. We are hoping to have it livable this year if all goes according to plan. Hope all is well with you!!