Copyright 2019 Brian Davis - CC-BY-NC-SA

Artichoke Flower and Bee

I planted artichokes because my wife brought them home from a plant sale. That's how much of our garden gets selected. ;-) She bought them because she knows I really like artichoke hearts (marinated in vinegar, mmmm) but we had no clue how to grow them what they were like. Gardening is an adventure! We planted them alongside the drip lines so they actually got watered, and in the middle of the garden so the weeds didn't completely take them over and they grew quite tall. The plants have large spiky leaves about 1-3 feet long and tall stalks (4 foot maybe?) topped with the flowers. The part you eat is the immature flower. We collected a few and steamed them. You peel off the hard green petals and kind of scrape the meaty part off them with your teeth. Eating was kind of a lot of work for a little food. The heart is the most food and a half pound flower head yields something like a 1 ounce heart. The meat from the petals is pretty negligible. But if you leave the flowers on the stalks they open into a shockingly purple flower with a forest of stamens that's easily the size of my hand. They are seriously a unique color. Nothing like it. And the bees are all over them. I usually find at least 2 bees in every flower every time I looked.