In just days the Echinops "Globe Thistle" has started flowering. It's spikey ball is softening into a purple-blue cloud that floats above the plant's deeply cut leaves. I was asked by I Have Important Thoughts how I get this to grow and I can't say I do anything special. When I bought it, maybe three years ago, I tucked it nearly right up against the south side of the house. The soil gets baked there although it did get a dose of compost one year, which helped. It shares the space with a large Hebe, providing it a bit of shelter from the sun in the early stages. But overall this plant is supposed to withstand pretty much any soil conditions and is a sun lover.
Crocosmia was one of the earlier purchases in my gardening journey. I'm not up on the many cultivars but this orange-apricot variety could be "George Davidson." (Correct me if you know different, please). The second year the plant only produced its long, narrow leaves that spill forward onto our path. I assume it was just settling in because the flowers have come back every year since.