In a Vase on Monday: Pincushion Flowers

I don’t have a pretty pincushion to share, but I do have lots of different pincushion flowers!

Here is a mixture of Scabiosa from the garden and wild ones from beyond the garden gate, as well as a some little Knautia and two huge Cephalaria flowers.


The whispy grass is Stipa tenuissima, now called Nassella tenuissima. And the yellow froth is Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle).

The red flower is a Knautia macedonica. This amazing plant somehow manages to produce both pink and red flowers. Here is the Cephalaria again. The flowers are about 8 cm in diameter…

The deep pink Scabiosa columbaria ‘Pink Mist’ was added to my garden in Spring. I am waiting for a few other sorts in this family to open. These are bee magnets.

Here is the blue version: S. columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’…

This Monday meme is hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. Her garden was open for the National Garden Scheme last week – I hope you have got your feet up today Cathy! Do go and visit to see what she and other contributors have found to put in a vase this week.

Have a great week, and happy gardening!

50 thoughts on “In a Vase on Monday: Pincushion Flowers

  1. Purple and yellow go well together, don’t they? I looked it up and I’m guessing your big yellow pincushion is Cephalaria gigantea ? I’m fascinated by the round things with needles sticking out – do they come with a Warning sign? πŸ™‚ Are they the Scabiosa seedheads?

    • Hi Chris. Yes, Cephalaria gigantea, and it is a giant at about 1.8m! The seedhead is from the Knautia and is really soft, not at all needle-like! πŸ˜‰

  2. I have always liked the form and texture of pincushion flowers but have not been able to grow them successfully. Now I want to try again. Your Lady’s Mantle makes a perfect filler to show off the flowers. Love how the colors work together. Have a great week Cathy!

  3. I love them all and they look gorgeous with the Alchemilla and Nasella. I think it’s the perfection of their flowers that make them so appealing and of course they’re much beloved by butterflies and other insects. I’ve got Knautia macedonica and arvensis is plentyful in the meadow. C. gigantea is awesome but not long-lasting with me. The seedheads are so special, what are they? Is your property fenced? Wishing you both a good week xx

    • The seedheads are the Knautia. I also have Scabiosa caucasia Perfect White and Perfect Blue just opening which I grew from seed. They are also really large flowers, but the last one I had must have succumbed to the winter so they don’t last forever either. I have had the Cephalaria in the old garden for about six or seven years now and it is doing so well being neglected! πŸ˜‰ This one here looks like it has grown a metre since I last looked. A monster of a plant! Have a good week Annette! πŸ˜ƒ xx

  4. I love all these pincushion flowers, although I did at first anticipate a vase of astrantia – but your vase is lovely these different pincushions! I noticed buds on my cephalaria although I am not sure its blooms will be as big as yours. I had not heard about the S tenuissima renaming – and might just ignore it!!

  5. I used to have knautia plant which were one of the first plants I grew from seed but they eventually fizzled out. Mine was the dark flowering variety. I should replace them. Love the cephalaria. Does it need much in the way of support Cathy? Impossible to ever loose alchemilla mollis πŸ˜‚

    • The dark one (Midget?) is really pretty – I grew it in the old garden, but this one has grown much taller and set seed like mad. I didn’t grow this one from seed but this is its third summer. The Cephalaria does not need any support but can get a bit wild. It certainly needs perhaps a square metre of space I’d say. I do love it though and it looks amazing swirling about in the wind! πŸ˜ƒ

  6. Cathy I’m sorry I haven’t written to you in so long, but I’m very depressed and won’t pick up the computer. I love all your pincushion flowers and how you have chosen such divine colors in such a magnificent vase. The huge flowers of Cephalaria are wonderful, I love them. I love the Macedonian Knautia. I hope you are in very good health. I am in Madrid, and I will only be able to go to the country house in August (I hope so). Happy week and happy gardening. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Margarita, I am sorry you are still feeling so depressed. I do hope you feel brighter soon and are able to visit your country house this summer. Take care, and thank you for taking the time to write such a nice comment again. πŸ˜πŸ¦‹πŸπŸ€—

      • Cathy, thank you very much for your words of encouragement and support. I will only be able to go to the country house in August, at least I hope so. Cathy reading your blogs is a pleasure and you always cheer me up with your beautiful flower photos. I comment on what my heart tells me and I don’t know how to express myself well. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita πŸ€—πŸŒΊπŸ˜˜πŸŒΌ

  7. They are beautiful! I esp. love the buttery Cephalaria and S. ‘Butterfly Blue.’ I’ve not had much luck with pincushion flowers overwintering for some reason, but I bought three more this spring, so fingers crossed, they survive.

  8. I love this, Cathy! I’ve fallen head over heels for Scabiosas myself this year. Scabiosa columbaria is one species that’s done exceptionally well here and I now have both the pink and blue forms. I’ve never tried Cephalaria but I plan to do so if I can find it locally.

    • They are lovely flowers aren’t they? Some grow wild here. πŸ˜ƒ The Cephalaria is a grand plant, and I must measure it later as it seems to have grown again while I wasn’t looking! It is at least 1.8metres tall. Good luck hunting one out. πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, it does! The leaves get a bit ugly as summer goes on when the flowers have faded, but I leave it standing for the seedheads and the silhouette of the stems. πŸ˜ƒ

    • Oh dear, I hope that doesn’t happen to mine. Yes, mine has set seed everywhere and would like to spread, but I shall just pull out a bit next spring. πŸ˜ƒ

  9. I love the knautia seed heads, they were especially eye catching as they developed on a very dark almost black one I grew last year. My cephalaria survived well for a year, with much smaller flowers than yours, but hasn’t come back. It was beautiful and your post reminds me I’ll have to start again with it. I think our soil is possibly too acidic for them to do well – that’s just a guess though, they could have been drowned in weeds. The area where they have survived is a bit dryer, next to the house.

    • Hi Cath. Well, my Cephalaria at the old garden has lasted for years, but it is very well-drained soil and chalky too. This one in the new garden is in its second year in slightly acidic soil and is still doing well… it is in fact enormous but sturdy. We just had a big thunderstorm with very strong wind and it is still standing upright! πŸ˜ƒ

  10. The colours of the flowers are all so summery! I haven’t heard of any of them, but they are all beautiful. Colder climate species perhaps? And is that a cut tree trunk the vase is sitting on? The wood is gorgeous too. πŸ™‚

  11. What a great flower, in all its guises! Interesting that your knautia produces different colours. Never seen that before. I love cephalaria, but the big blue blooms are the best! Lovely vase Cathy.

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