Close up Artichokes

While I enjoy eating artichokes, I enjoy their color and shape even more. They grow in my garden visible from the street and passer-bys have been know to enquire as to why I would grow ‘thistles’ in my garden.

What a gorgeous color contrast the red bug and vibrant purple flower.

Even before they reveal the amazing purple, they are striking.

And of course, the bees appreciate them too, hiding deep inside or buzzing around the flowers.

Circles in nature and life

Did you know dandelions are symbols of emotional healing?

Here we go again. My mind is reeling as I try to gather my thoughts and prepare emotionally for the next six weeks.

My household went in to lockdown way back in March. Victorians seemed to do the right things and numbers of Covid cases decreased. But a vicious second wave sees us back in an even stricter lockdown again, as of today. It’s become part of life. I note with interest as I write, that the spell checker doesn’t recognise lockdown as a single word. I thought the time was passing quickly, so quick the spell checker hasn’t caught up.

I really shouldn’t complain. I am much better placed than many to withstand the situation. I’m far away from the city and relatively secluded. I feel for the grandkids who live with us. Homeschooling, not seeing friends and being isolated on the farm is another huge adjustment. And there’s a level of anxiety, from the situation. Still they’re resilient, even looking forward to some aspects of learning at home again. Right now it’s me who is trying to prepare for the onslaught.

This dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, caught my eye today. It must be tough to survive among the bricks. It can endure whatever is thrown at it. Some call it a weed. Others, throughout history have valued it as a herb with many special properties. You can eat it or make tea with it. It’s got lots of positive nutrients. Many, many health claims are made about a myraid of medical conditions it can help with. It is even claimed to make you look better, through skin improvement.

I love its beauty. A beautiful, circular, little ball of fluff, and it reminds me of good times with my children and grandchildren puffing the fluff away and making wishes for the future. They are actually spreading the goodness. The dandelion seed has downy fluff which serves as tiny parachutes to carry it on the breeze. Some claim it can travel a hundred miles on the wind, even over the oceans.

It can survive very tough conditions.

Another round ball of fluff is the seed of artichoke plants. Each little fluffy ball can have over 1500 seeds. They travel shorter distance and some people call the fluffy seeds, ‘fairies’ as the drift on the wind.

Arty Artichokes

A neighbour cautiously asked us why we were growing thistles in our vegetable patch. I planted a few artichokes ages ago, knowing next to nothing about the plant. I still know very little about artichokes. I do know they are extremely hardy; they have to be to survive in my garden. And, they self seed. I’ve got to say they share lots of characteristics to the thistles who occasionally pop up in the paddocks who very unwelcome intruders. In fact, apparently, these globe artichokes are an actual variety of thistle. You eat the flower buds.

Obviously, I missed eating some of the flowers and they have gone to seed. I will admit to really liking them on pizzas, when I get one from the pizza shop, but I haven’t had much success in my own kitchen. Any suggestions are welcome.

This single specimen was self seeded. It has just been trimmed back. I have been feasting on a circle of broccoli planted around it. Just one left now. They co-existed very well together.

I love the look of the seeds. They are soft and fluffy. I don’t love the mess they make if you try to clean them up.

The salvia are trying, but they can’t compete here. I think they will have to be moved.