A puffer ball

The title of this post is a new word for me. At Helmsley Walled Garden last week, I’d seen the flowers on globe artichokes

and decided to touch them. Immediately, the thought of puffer balls came to mind, as the petals on the flowers were quite rubbery in texture.

To be honest, I could have done with a real puffer ball last night. A cat had got locked in the house while we were out yesterday and this morphed into a nightmare, where I heard an intruder whilst working in the garden. No doubt this is in part due to my choice of reading matter.

I’d meant actually to write a post about globe artichoke flowers at the beginning of the week but a Monday morning call from one of my best friends stopped me in my tracks. It looks like cancer – which had been misdiagnosed as silent reflux for quite some considerable time. Fortunately, I heard from my friend yesterday and she’s doing okay following surgery.

Unfortunately for me, I also had a massive bout of anxiety yesterday and tinnitus in my right ear was driving me crazy. We’d seen a friend to celebrate her 80th birthday – she cycled to the venue no less – and so the day started well but too much caffeine, I suspect, sent my mind spiralling.

So, returning to the subject of puffer balls,

aka globe artichoke flowers, I admired the one in my garden as long as it lasted, even going so far as to get spiked by its thorny exterior (yes, globe artichokes really are related to the thistle family!). However, not only has the flower withered but so has the whole plant.

This is a disappointment, especially as I thought these were perennial plants. Perhaps it just needs a rest and will be back next year but I am thinking of getting another and planting it in place of the raised bed, once this moves. More sun in this position might help.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in edible flowers, Gardening, perennials and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A puffer ball

  1. Going Batty in Wales says:

    What a week! Take care.

  2. I hope you friend continues to improve

  3. While I have never grown artichokes, there are several species of thistles that grow wild here on the farm (and everywhere else). Apparently, they are edible like artichokes. I haven’t tried any and likely won’t. I like native thistles because they aren’t so invasive and grow quite tall. I could definitely do without the Bull and Musk Thistles, though.

    I guess you may have to watch out for to much coffee… Sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she makes a full recovery soon. Thanks for sharing!

    • Helen says:

      Thank you very much 😊.

      Re thistles, yes best to stick to native varieties, so there is competition to keep them in check. There are more ‘normal’ thistles whose leaves we can technically eat over here. I think they would have to be cooked first, though, otherwise you’d probably lacerate your mouth.

  4. I hope you’re feeling well today, Helen!

  5. Helen, you have so much going on! I’m sure that cat gave you a fright, but what a relief to know that is all it was. I’m sending healing thoughts to your friend. I’m sorry to hear of the diagnosis. Our school garden had a large artichoke, but I can’t recall now if it wintered over. They’re spectacular plants.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you, Alys. In truth, my friend is actually waiting for the results of the biopsy but the consultant is sure of what he’s seen. However, my friend is recovering from the op and is even going to do a bit of teaching (online) today.

      Anyway, yes, globe artichokes are magnificent plants. After publishing my post, I had a look for info on them overwintering and I get the impression that they do die down but appear again in spring. Last winter, there were still leaves overwinter, which is why I was thrown.

  6. gaiainaction says:

    The very best to your friend Helen.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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