24 November 2010


It is that time of year when we gather and think of all the things we are truely, deeply, thankful for. I have a long list: My health, my wonderful partner, my house, family and job, all my wonderful blogging friends, and a whole array of amazing things that have happened to me this year. But among all the things I could mention here, one really stands out.


I am so, so, SO thankful for cardoons. Just look at those leaves!

I love my cardoons all year, but right now, when everything else is brown and dead aside from a few plucky pansies and a handful of autumn crocuses, the fact that they continue lush, vigorous and very much alive with color and texture is almost hard to believe.
As the garden fades in the face of nightly frosts the cardoons stand tall and vigorous, their bright silver setting off the browns and tans around them.
I love my cardoons now, and come spring I love them, if possible, even more, as cardoons are one of the first perennials to leaf out and start making the garden look full and lush again. Provided, that is, they make it through the winter at all. They are only boarder-line hardy for me (future breeding project: hardier cardoons), but I have them in a sheltered spot right by the foundation, and they've done fine the last couple years. I'll be crossing my fingers, hoping for the best, and starting more from seed just in case.


Cyndy said...

I would be grateful for those too - always thought they wouldn't be hardy here, but maybe in a warm spot they might work. Love the form of that foliage!

danger garden said...

A good one for my "new opportunities" list. You know...new plants to try in the holes left by the ones that didn't make it.

Kat said...

Joseph this is the most interesting "gratitude" post I've seen so far. Those cardoons are amazing. I can see why you like them.

scottweberpdx said...

I've always admired these in other garden (mostly Botanical Gardens, it seems!). I wish I had room and a suitably sunny spot for one.

JeffB said...

I've always enjoyed growing plain ol' artichokes... these look fun too (and very similar).

meemsnyc said...

Those are lovely!

Joseph said...

They also get huge in a single season and are easy to grow from seed, so you can do them as an annual.

Danger Garden,
I'm sure they'd be fully hardy for you too. But I hope you don't have any holes to fill! Here's hoping for a mild winter.

Cardoons are essentially wild artichokes, so yes, they look very similar, but artichokes are even less hardy, so I take when I can get.

Tom said...

Cardoon are great. Garfield Park conservatory in Chicago had them planted all over the outdoor gardens this year. It was love at first sight!