I made another little trip to Arrowhead Alpines (I know I said I'd TRY not to go again... but somehow...) and among other things, I got this little trio of plants that is making my garden look a little like Danger Garden.
here) but the foliage is kicked up a notch.
And finally, this Eryngium venustum. This may not look quite as bad as the other two, but it is by far the most dangerous of the group -- the leaves are razor sharp. But I love its incredible, geometric lattice work of spines. I had one a couple years ago, which didn't make it through the winter, so this one is going in a sheltered spot near the foundation -- hopefully it will survive for me.
All of which makes me wonder, why do I like these plants so much? My mother-in-law (who, by the way, is awesome -- no mother-in-law jokes apply) always laughs at me about my "thistles." For me, I think, it is about visual contrast -- the soft, rounded forms of most plants look all the better for being sprinkled with a few daggers. At least I think so. What do you think about dangerous plants?