Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’. This striking perennial has attractive grey-green foliage and looks lovely in my garden next to the bright green of my euphorbia. The plant is aptly named, for at dusk its silver-white flowers take on a ghostly luminosity.
‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ has a fascinating history, and another reason for its name, being one of many new species of plants introduced by the keen amateur horticulturalist Ellen Willmott (1858 – 1934).
She was a lady of considerable means and a big spender too, investing much of her fortune on (wisely, I think) on plant-hunting expeditions and gardeners for her estate. In latter years though, she lost much of her wealth and became a bit odd.
The story that she carried the seeds of this lovely thistle in her pockets to scatter in fellow-gardeners’ borders before they could stop her, makes me smile – an early example of guerilla gardening perhaps?