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The Gardening Coach

Catharine Howard is the Gardening Coach. Contact her for gardening advice and visit www.thegardeningcoach.co.uk for more information.
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What to do with a teasel

Well you can brush them over your billiard table to raise the nap.  Or point the finches in the right direction for winter feasting.  The seedheads of teasels are now not so very  more than  an eye-catching piece of design.

Not so in the past.  They were vital tool in the wool industry and the spiny heads were used to ‘tease’ out the separate fibres of wool before spinning.

Why are they so useful?  They have superior hooked spikes covering the flowerhead.  These can brush over your baize or the silk of a top hat with a ‘give’ that means they do not rip the cloth.  So they skate and bend over any irregularity in the cloth.  A case of Nature being more savvy than machinery.

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3 comments to What to do with a teasel

  • We grow them in the wildlife borders on our allotment site to attract butterflies, bees, hoverflies and all sorts of beneficial insects and pollinators and then leave the seeds for goldfinches, siskins etc to help them through the leaner months. They look great too don’t they!

  • Teasels are so wonderful for the wildlife in the garden. We have a few at the back of the bee and butterfly border to attract all the insects when they visit in the summer, then of course it is the turn of the goldfinches in the autumn and winter who come for the seed. They have such structural seedheads I must have a go at carving a large one!

  • I had no idea that is how they got their name! I’ll be growing them again this year, the birds love them and they are so wonderfully structural.

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