“A Long Awaited Plant Is Found”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Saturday, I finally found a plant I have been searching for. For several years now, ever since I saw fantastic photos in a garden book, I have been wanting to plant cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) commonly called artichoke thistle. It is a very curious looking plant. What attracted me was the architectural look of the plant with its large, deeply cut, gray-green foliage. It is supposed to keep its vase shape until late in the season.
From what I have read, this plant can get really big. It can get six to eight feet tall and four to six feet wide. While I don’t think mine will reach the optimum size (at least I hope not), I am looking forward to its being big. The photos I saw showed a very large plant that was very sculptural and made a wonderful textural contrast with nearby plants. This plant is also edible, but I am not interested in eating it, just having a focal point that is an attractive, dramatic, architectural ornamental. I am thinking about growing this in a very large container with Margarite sweet potato vine at the base.
The flowers, according to internet sources, are supposed to be a butterfly and hummingbird magnet. When it goes to seed, the chickadees are also reported to be enamored with this plant. While the flowers are thistle-like, purple and held atop tall stems, it is the foliage which I find the most attractive. If it will grow to about three feet wide, I will be happy. Today, after work I will be planting this much sought after plant. Wish me luck.