The artichoke is best eaten when the globes are fully developed, but still tightly closed. Steamed and served with butter and lemon juice, this tasty vegetable is a real treat.
As the artichoke prepares to flower, the edible scales fold back and the center pushes open. Finally, the beautiful purple petals begin to appear.
A succession of blooms appear on the same plant. One immature bud lags behind and finally, all four bloom at once.
"There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give the impression of beauty and delight." - Gertrude Jekyll
After weeks of bloom, the last of the humble artichoke thistles fades till next year, but the memories of these truly spectacular flowers are captured forever in my mind.