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Tony Grist

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Strange Growths Of A Secret Garden [Aug. 20th, 2019|11:33 am]
Tony Grist
We have longstanding permission to go wandering around our neighbours' garden- which was created for the socially aspirant son of a Victorian railway millionaire. Yesterday I took my daughter and great nephew on a tour. Alice said she felt like she should have shown her NT membership card at the gate.

There's a walled garden. Last time I looked round it was all neat and orderly but it's been neglected over the summer so now looks like a place where statues might come alive or time slips happen. There was a chap digging in there- mitigating the ghostliness and beginning the process of setting it up to look smart for the new year. We filched a few raspberries. My great nephew retained a couple to give to his younger brother and sister.

I was drawn to these great monarchical, spiky things...

...and had a conversation with myself that went a bit like this.

"They look like artichokes, but they can't be...

Why not?

Because artichokes grow close to the ground- like cabbages- or so I've always assumed...

That's because you've only seen them in shops- being marketed as a food-stuff.

So are they artichokes?

Why don't you look it up?"

So I did. And they are artichokes- and artichokes turn out to be a kind of thistle.

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2019-08-20 12:37 pm (UTC)
I knew that! Mostly because I've seen them growing in pots at Longwood Garden. But I've never seen them after the fact.

Did you take any seeds? I am picturing you and Ailz starting your very own artichoke farm just out the back door.

EDIT: Meant to add that your niblings are a handsome folk.

Edited at 2019-08-20 12:37 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2019-08-20 12:38 pm (UTC)
(Ooops....daughter and great-nephew. So daughter and great-nibling. Not niblings, plural. Still, they are a handsome folk.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-08-20 12:56 pm (UTC)
I didn't think to take seeds. But then it would have involved damaging the plant and that would have seemed like smashing up an artwork.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2019-08-20 01:50 pm (UTC)
That fellow with a spade is likely to damage the plant more than you would if you took a pinch of seed from one of the seed heads. If they're ripe, they should just slide out easily without damaging the rest of the ensemble.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-08-20 03:29 pm (UTC)
Well then, I might...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-08-20 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

We had a get-together of family members who rarely meet- my sister's son's family (two boys and a girl) and my daughter's family (two girls). They get on famously. It's a pity they don't live nearer.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2019-08-20 02:06 pm (UTC)
so now looks like a place where statues might come alive or time slips happen

indeed it does!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-08-20 03:19 pm (UTC)
The neighbours rarely get to enjoy it. At the moment they're spending most of their time in Hong Kong.

Edited at 2019-08-20 03:21 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2019-08-20 02:08 pm (UTC)
Oh yes! Living in the biggest artichoke producing country in the world, and having grown them myself, I could have told you also. Artichoke is a thistle and the flowers, before they dry up as you show here are huge purple beauties. When not cultivated for harvest, the plant grows to a massive size and flowers if the choke is not cut off. Notice that the plant itself is not dead and if left to its own devices, will produce another round of fruit next year. I kept my artichokes going for about 10 years which is a bit longer than their natural life span.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-08-20 03:23 pm (UTC)
I can't say I've ever given artichokes much thought. I like eating them but I've never wondered where they came from.

Now I'm tempted to have a go at growing them myself.
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