I know this stuff is a nuisance to most people. In fact, when I was in college, I worked as a lifeguard at the Cook Forest State Park swimming pool (which I believe is gone now, sadly…my Mom worked there eons before I did). There was a ton of fun to be had as a lifeguard and the forest itself was beautiful. If you ever need a place to visit in PA, consider Cook Forest.
Anyhow, the superintendent at the park hated bull thistle. The pool opened on Memorial Day each year and in PA (at least then), it could still be quite cool. They also filled the pool from a deep well which ran about 50 degrees…it took awhile to be swimmable even if the air was warmer. So, when we had really cool days, the chief would come by and send some of us out to rid the park of all bull thistle. I hated that job and at that time, I vowed to never view thistle as an enemy again (at least not until I have power equipment to deal with it). You see, we cut it by hand then and it was not an amusing pastime.
All of these pictures were taken at our place and the thistle are pretty rampant. All sorts of insects love them though and I have no strong urge to deal with the thistle so, for now, they will remain an insect paradise and a great source of late summer color!