Prickly plants

We have several very prickly plants out here.  My hands down favorite is the thistle.

These weeds come up early in the spring as small little sprouts and grow to be several feet in diameter.

Then the flower starts to grow out of the center of the plant.

The flower can top a stem that reaches over 18 inches and has lovely yellow fuzz.  The thistle is not a friendly plant.  All the leaves have rows of very sharp and hard spines.  Trying to pull this guy out of the ground without thick leather gloves would be foolish.  I'm sure most people would consider this a noxious weed.   As far as I know, none of the livestock will touch it.  I doubt that it's poisonous - just incredibly prickly.

Interestingly, I find most things about this plant enchanting.  It's overall shape is a pleasing round and the flower is very globe like.  The leaves are several shades of green.  In a spring with little or no rain, this can be the only bit of green to be seen in the pastures early in the year.  We've had quite a bit of rain so far this spring so there are lots of other green things out there right now.  One of the things I like best about this plant is that it comes up early in the year, sets it's flowers and puts out it's seed and is ready to be mowed down by the time it's warm enough to really grow grass.  I don't have any trouble mowing it down since I have already had a good chance to enjoy it by then.

We do have some other prickly plants out here.  We planted these lovely cactus near the studio.  They are edible but I just love looking at them.  The pads can be cleaned of spines and blended with other fruits and vegetables to make "green juice" which is supposed to make you healthy and help with weight loss.  No idea if it works but I know the cactus is slimy when it's cut open.

This is a picture of Ron's cactus garden but the Opuntia cactus was dug up from our pasture.  It looks much better in this garden.  The one's out in the pasture get mowed down and stepped on and never look this nice.  The red tunas or fruit of the cactus can be used as a dye.  It's smashed up by hand and the cloth or yarn is immersed in the slimy mess.  We got a lovely pale pink the one time we tried it but the color fades very quickly.

And then there is the Agave.  I love this plant.  We have had them in the back yard but they didn't do very well there.  Not enough sunlight.  This one is near the studio in full sun and just gets bigger each year.

I like plants that can take care of themselves.