A diverse range of plants, with over 250 species throughout the world. Growing throughout our garden, but not in shady positions. Individual flowers are small, but they are arranged in tight cone-like or rounded heads and often surrounded by spiny colourful bracts enhancing their beauty. Small insects, including bees adore the flowers. Foliage, although at times spiny, can be deeply cut and divided and with some coloured in shades of metallic blue-purple to silver. Full sun is required and a well drained soil, but with some of the taller species requiring a richer, more moisture-retentive soil to get the best out of them. There are two native species, the commonest being sea holly, which grows in sand and shingle around much of the coastline, including Clacton seafront!