Planting in Winter - Cardoon

So going to the nursery for one item really worked out well for me, because well... the one item was not Cardoon. I raced to get these (I bought two) in the ground and watered before the cold front came through yesterday (wearing shorts on Friday to snow this morning, that's Texas!)

I learned what this was through a blog post by Leslie Halleck back in October. It looks a lot like celery, but it's a member of the artichoke family. It can be a bi-annual that grows nicely in the winter. It should get about 5 feet round which is perfect to grow in the huge bed where my melons were. They said Cardoon makes a perfect center piece and focal point. Gloves are a must - I found out the hard way, these things are prickly! Look what beautiful flowers they have.

Now you can see why they are related to the artichoke?

Of course they are edible. I decided to follow my rule: landscaping must be edible or serve a purpose. The flowers are not the edible part, however. It's the stalks that are edible like celery. They are naturally bitter, so there are a few ways to ready them up: you tie up the stalks so they are shaded from the sun to make them soft or you boil them. I'll have to figure that out when the time comes.  

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