Horticulturally this border at the Parc Floral is a bit of a mess. – the Echinops is growing through the ornamental grasses and everything is knotted together by bindweed – but the wind-swept grasses glint in the sunlight and the prickly flower globes are humming with bumblebees.

The plant combination could be carelessly wild but I suspect it’s subtly planned. The Echinops (or globe thistle) is a solid plant with a sturdy framework of stiff stems, standing firm in all but the strongest wind.  The soft, airy panicles of the switch grass (Panicum virgatum) move in the lightest breeze, so the violet-blue thistle balls seem to be bouncing through golden waves of grass.  Both are vigorous plants, once established, and they make good companions.