I don’t cultivate thistles, but there are places in back of my house where I allow them to grow. My wife wants me to cut them down, and I do with some of them. I have my reasons for keeping some of them up, however. I found one small reason in the low sunlight of this autumn morning.
It is said that the thistle once saved a Scottish camp from viking invaders, when one of the vikings botched their stealthy attack on the camp by stepping onto the sharp thorny leaf of a thistle, howling in pain. In my own garden, this stinging plant attracts small animals with stingers of their own.
This is, by the way, the same thistle plant I photographed in prickly bud in the middle of the summer.