This is a tough and early-flowering perennial cornflower which is native to Europe and grows wild in Southern European mountainous areas (hence the name).
Centaurea montana froms from April to June and if cut back often flowers agaln later in the summer. We find it attracts a series of differnt bees as the season progresses: first come the red mason and sometimes other solitary bees, then bumblebees and sometimes the odd honey bee too.
The picture above shows an 'early bumblebee' collecting pollen. You can see the bulging pollen baskets on her back legs and you can just about see how both the petals and bee are dusted pollen.
This plant because it provide all the benefits of the annual cornflowers without the hassle of having to clear some ground and sow the seed.
It grows in clumps that get to about 80cm across, flopping slightly with the added benefit of suppressing any weeds. You can grow it at the front of a border an let it flop over the edge at about 50cm high or plant it further back into the border - and supported - to reach its maximum height of about a meter.
Click here to find this plant in our shop