24 Jul 2014

Thoroughly {purple} Thursday

I bet the kids can't believe their luck, all this hot weather to kick off the end of term holidays.  Not so for us poor gardeners though, struggling to protect our plants from this mediterranean-like heat.  To cap it all, there's been a good stiff breeze running across the garden for the past couple of days wicking any moisture away from the leaves and encouraging transpiration which means that roots need more water otherwise the plants bolt, set seed and generally just keel over.

My purple globe artichoke flowerhead has fast-forwarded from last weekend's pink scales with yellow fluff centre to burst into a show-stopping thistle-head within the past two days.  I can't get my photos to replicate the purple of the flower fronds, it's almost electric blue in its intensity. I've tried different settings on my camera and a bit of tweaking in photoshop; I even got up earlier* to photograph it in a bluer morning light because yesterday's setting sun threw a warm orange cast over the garden. It made a slight difference but apparently the 'wow' factor can only be viewed in real life. As I grew this from a seed, I'm now wondering if I could fit a few more of these into the garden…. maybe in the Hot Border**, under the 'palm' tree, next to the lavender and perovskia? Hmm, sounds good; I think I might just tootle off and have a little internet search for seeds… :)




*not that early judging by the shadows creeping over the path!
** The Hot Border is a part of the garden that I'll do a post on soon as it's an ongoing renovation.

22 comments:

  1. Hot isn't it. I'm going to drag the biggest boy down to the allotment this evening to help me water. I've got an artichoke just breaking into flower in the garden, and I know what you mean about the colour, it seems to gleam against the backdrop. CJ xx

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    1. We've had a couple of torrential downpours today (Friday), CJ. I must have been the only person in the Holloway Road smiling in the rain while everyone else took shelter! Hope your boy enjoyed helping you with the watering - it's all part of the gardening learning curve! Would love to see a photo of your artichoke when it flowers - is it a purple one or green?

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  2. As you say, and show, globe artichokes have a wonderful flower head, which bees love. I used to have a couple on the plot and really must do again! Flighty xx

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    1. I love to hear bees buzzing in the garden and deliberately plant to encourage them! If you can find a space for an artichoke plant, I think it would be an excellent idea to bring them back again. Caro xx

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  3. The bees can't get enough of those artichoke flowers can they?

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    1. I think they're spoiled for choice in the gardens here as I see a lot of bees on the alliums, plus the centaurea, echinacea, herbs and the huge hebe bush is covered in flowers at the moment - and the flowers are covered in bees!

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  4. We stayed out till 11pm tonight watering....

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    1. I can well believe it! I suppose that many of your plants are still getting established, having had to replace them after last year's fire, so will need plenty of watering. Good for you to get out there and do it! Are your plants slug resistant, being more tropical? I resist watering at night because of our little slimey friends….

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  5. Love the color and the shape too. I have never seen the full blossom Arthicoke before. It's so interesting!

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    1. Artichokes are similar to cardoons (Cynara cardunculus), the difference being that the stems of cardoons are edible whereas the flowers of the artichoke are the edible parts. Both make wonderfully statuesque plants (although mine isn't that big yet, being only a year old). I would have thought that you could grow one of these, but perhaps it's a question of having enough space? They need about a metre of room!!

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  6. That's reminded me to get some globe artichoke seeds too - I love the flowers and they're great for bees.

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    1. I'm just trying to decide between more purple artichokes or a couple of green ones! So much choice, it's great!

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  7. Still looks gorgeous Caro, no wonder you want more. I can't bear the heat in the back garden at the moment, its such a sun trap. Happily the front garden has the sea breezes. Unhappily the veg is all in the back...

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    1. I'm not one to sit out in the heat either, Janet. I'm avoiding the gardens in the midday heat and gardening early and late and we're lucky in having really good double glazed sash windows in the flats which help keep indoors nice and cool. I hope you're veg are going to survive, mine are all slowly frying, although we've had a lovely downpour today so that should give the plants some respite! I envy you your sea breezes, so lovely to be able to just stroll along by the sea in the cool of the evening! C xx

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  8. You get a feel fot the intense blue in the bottom half of the flower....oh wow, I have to agree, it's utterly stunning. I must try and remember to get some seeds too.xxx

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    1. I had no idea when I bought the seeds that the flower would be so beautiful, Dina. I just wanted to see what artichoke tasted like and knew the plant would be lovely and big! I read that it's good to leave one bud to develop and flower - now I can see why! I'm not sure at the moment whether it will disappear over winter or not, the plant has been struggling with the lack of water and some varieties are biennial rather than perennial. (And I've lost the seed packet!)

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    2. Our artichoke is perennial but we have never eaten any part of it

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    3. I guess you're growing the flowers for the bees, Sue, but I'd still have to have a taste to see if I was missing something special!

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  9. I have a Cardoon and it's flowers aren't quite open yet, but when they are the bees will love it. I grow it for the flowers, not to eat, so many people told me it wouldn't survive on my heavy clay, but I've had it for about20 yrs now!

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    1. I love the look of cardoons, Pauline; there's a front garden near me which is (over)stuffed with them! I've read that you can blanch the stems and then eat them but, like you, I'd leave it to flower and grow globe artichokes if I was after something for dinner!

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  10. They say the camera never lies, well I'm afraid it does where colour's concerned. Sometimes, I'm afraid you just have to see something in real life to get the true effect, though I have to say that the globe artichoke looks pretty good in your photo, you've done a good job of capturing it in all its glory.

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    1. I wish I understood more how my camera works, especially the bits about colour balance! It seems to change with the different settings, with the same picture having a more grey, red or blue tint. Most peculiar - and frustrating! Thanks for the compliment, Jo; it will be fascinating to see what the plant does next!

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Caro x

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