Day 142: perennial cornflower

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


Tough as old boots with a whole host of names – perennial cornflower, mountain knapweed and, my favourite, great blue-bottle – Centaurea montana possesses a distinctly architectural air, while being relatively small in stature. Which isn’t to suggest that it will add structure to your borders – at around 45cm in height, that’s too much to ask – but, both in bud and in flower, it has a solid, decorative quality that could inspire a column’s decorative capital or the finial on a newel or gatepost. This is something it shares with both acanthus and the pineapple, though while both of those can also boast interesting foliage, the leaves of Centaurea have  something of a nondescript, furry greyish green thing going on. Well, you can’t have everything, and by the time those crazy petals are out, who’s looking at leaves?

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.