Planted near the top of the driveway border, this plant is Echinops Ritro. It promised to be a four feet tall plant with dark blue or purple globe shaped flowers. Last year this plant grew six inches tall and didn't do anything. This year... well, the catalog didn't lie. It has shot upwards and is loaded with buds. Exciting.
This was one of several hard to find plants that I treated myself with last year. If you are interested here is the link to Bluestone Perennials.