The story goes that the (sometime revolver carrying) Edwardian horticulturist Ellen Willmott used to surreptitiously scatter seed of these sea hollies, Eryngium giganteum, in the gardens that she visited. These would later emerge as a phantom of this formidable lady (which I expect was a mandatory attribute in the 19th century and does not go amiss in the 21st century), a silver spiky architectural classic, to the great surprise of the garden owners. She did this as she believed that no garden should be without one of these magnificent plants which admittedly is veering towards the “control freak” style of gardening. I suppose if she had a gun you weren’t really in a position to argue. Luckily for us she had good taste as these reliably spread themselves around our garden and although I doubt were distributed by the fine lady herself, are a most welcome spectre.