Try saying ‘Fuss Free Thistle’ really fast.
Ok, its not that easy!
And neither is the name, which I first learnt as Centaurea ‘Pulchra Major.’
Then Christopher Lloyd wrote that it should be Leuzea centauroides.
I now see from The RHS Plant Finder that I should be calling it Stemmacantha centaureoides.
You know what? In this zone we are calling it Centaurea ‘Pulchra Major’ how I first learnt it!
But, by fuss free, we mean the growing of it.
Think of having to stake Artichokes and Cardoons and the blackfly they seem to attract. Handsome, but hard work.
Think of the spiny virulence of Onopordum acanthium, Echinops or Silybum. Dramatic, but painful to garden around.
And here our ‘fuss free thistle’ sits:
Boldly lobed, quality, grey green foliage which is white beneath and heads of lilacy-pink thistle flowers above papery scales at 1 metre high.
Not a spine, bristle or prickle in sight.
You could have it front of border, where you brush past, no fussing.
Graham Stuart Thomas in ‘Perennial garden Plants’ frets that it is less hardy than some and wants sunny and well drained and warm.
Sunny and well drained? Yes.
Warm? Well this comparatively young plant sat here through the last, two winters the worst in twenty years and is going from strength to strength.
It comes from the Pyrenees!