Starting the year with an artichoke in bloom

The flower I’d like to start 2023 with is an artichoke

A big disk of purple florets wrapped in thick greened bracts tipped with thorns.

A flower that I had never seen until this past year.

Artichoke plants have never been a staple in our gardens.

But every few years we’ll plant a few plants.

Come midsummer, we start harvesting and eating those chokes.

Usually we pick every last one.

This year, I quit picking the artichokes in early September.

At first it was because I was finding hollandaise sauce a little intense.

And then it was because I kept forgetting to pick them when I was in the garden and didn’t remember to go back out when I was in the kitchen.

And then it was simply because I wanted to see what happens.

I’m not sure why I never let any artichokes go to flower in our garden.

Usually I can’t wait to see what blooms from a new plant and then figure out how to get the seeds in our climate.

But Artichokes somehow slipped that obsession.

At least until this year.

I began to stop at those artichokes multiple times a day to look at the swelling and opening buds 

To see what would happen next and to dream about what the bloom would look like.

The artichoke flowers did not disappoint.

In beauty and elegance for sure.

But also in expanding my horizons as I discovered that artichoke were simply giant tasty thistles.

(I guess I knew that botanically but I’d never fully embodied that thought..)

Now,  you may already grow artichokes.

And you may already forget to pick them

And you may already have enjoyed these giant thistles.

You might even grow them intentionally to flower or perhaps even for a seed harvest.

Maybe you’re tired of those gorgeous artichoke flowers.

You are welcome to choose a different flower to start your year.

May your flower inspire you, and excite you, and let you see the world in new ways. 

May your flower comfort  you, and soothe you, and help you get through our days.

I’m starting with an artichoke.

I’m walking into 2023 ready to accept all the beautiful flowers wrapped in thorns that it may bring, 

And to appreciate the giant thistles, and not so giant thistles too.

I wish you all the best for 2023.

– Dan

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