artichoke in the fall.

artichoke in the fall.

Last year we took a field trip to a farm to buy heirloom plants for our garden.  The farmer had a flat of artichoke plants.  She told us that it probably wouldn’t grow but, if it did, we wouldn’t get an artichoke but we might get the thistle.  Artichokes aren’t meant to grown in Virginia.  You’ll never see an artichoke in the store with a “Virginia Grown” label.  We planted it and forgot about it.  It didn’t even rate a picture.  It does now-lots of them.  It’s about seven feet tall and has 19 artichokes.  Before the artichokes, it looked like a beautiful grey green dragon.  The weight of the chokes and the rise in temperature and humidity is taking its toll.  We’ll have to cut it back soon if we want it to survive.  But for now, we sit in amazement.  It is our little miracle.

almost 6' tall

almost 6′ tall

the first artichoke.  we looked at it in disbelief.

the first artichoke. we looked at it in disbelief.


getting ready to flower.  artichokes are part of the thistle family.

getting ready to flower. artichokes are part of the thistle family.

flowering artichoke

flowering artichoke


almost done flowering

almost done flowering

and now it's a thistle

and now it’s a thistle

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  1. Wow- I am amazed and am thinking Little Shop of Horrors, too. At 7 feet tall it looks like it could help guard your house!

  2. likeitiz says:

    Now, isn’t it just like the garden to come up with these surprises? What a pleasant surprise that must have been. I learned something new. I did not realize artichokes are in the same family as the thistle! I like the flowers though. Now, do you have problems with pests wanting to devour anything that’s remotely edible in your yard? I do.

  3. we have pests in the vegetable garden and we have voles there so no squashes or melons will grow as they seem to love the roots, but nothing has bothered the artichoke. maybe the pests can’t figure out what the heck it is. we have to cut it to the ground before the summer is on us or it will wilt like we do.

  4. Very cool. I never saw an actual artichoke plant. I guess I should have wondered about them since I eat them!

  5. TBM says:

    The little artichoke that could!

  6. What a beautiful artichoke plant – well done for giving it a try! Did you eat any of the artichokes? I planted five in my garden this year, and I’m hoping for my first crop this autumn… Fingers crossed. Your plant should produce little babies, which you can re-plant elsewhere.

  7. No we didn’t. we were so astounded and it brought us so much pleasure we decided to just let it grow and see what happened. Next year, if it comes back, we’ll eat some. it’s already divided in to three plants but the humidity here is giving it fits. we’re hoping once we cut it back, it will rally.

  8. Karen says:

    I’ve never seen an artichoke grow until now. Thanks for sharing your delight in such a small thing.

  9. We never had either. It has been magical for us to watch it grow. thanks for stopping by!

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