Common name: crown imperial, imperial fritillary or Kaiser's crown
F. Imperialis, the Crown Imperial, one of the oldest known cultivated plants from Persia and India, is often seen in old Dutch paintings with its tufted crown of leaves. Legend has it that it once had upward facing white flowers, but in the Garden of Gethsemane, when other plants hung their heads in humility as Christ passed by, this plant was too proud to do so. God rebuked it, whereupon it blushed red, hung its head and tears came, which can be seen today as nectaries.
Common Name: Giant yellow scabious, pincushion flower
Cephalaria gigantea is a tall (180 cm) perennial at home in the back of the Perennial Garden border. The common name of scabious derives from the idea that the leaves of this plant were thought to relieve the itching caused by scabies.
Common Name: Stonecrop
Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor' has black-purple foliage and rosy pink flowers. It is one of the first sedums to bloom in late summer. It attracts pollinators and is drought-tolerant. 'Sedum' means 'seat', in reference to some plants in this genus who grow in stone walls (hence the common name); 'telephium' is from the Greek word for 'distance'.
Common Name: Giant sea holly, tall eyrngo, Miss Willmott's Ghost, ivory thistle.
Eryngium giganteum 'Silver Ghost' is a striking member of the perennial border in front of the Formal Rose Garden. Its flowers are very sharp. It is named after the British plantswoman Ellen Willmott who used to surreptiously plant its seeds in other gardens. 2020 update: It seems to have disappeared from this border (it is considered a short-lived plant.)