Imperial Star volunteer artichokes, above, and the greenhouse, top.
A friend of mine working in the artichoke patch here Monday came across a dead artichoke
flower while we were cleaning up the field and, unlike the hundred or so
other dead flowers we cleaned up that morning, this one had found just
the perfect mixture of moisture, sun and warmth to send its seeds into
germination. At first it seemed like a curiosity but then it dawned on
me that gophers had sentenced a good 15 of my artichoke plants to death
last year and these young sprouts could could become their replacement. So there they are at left, or at least four of them, stretching up to the sun on a heat mat in my greenhouse. Altogether, we potted up about 25 of them, four of which have already given up the ghost. We can keep track of this little experiment and maybe next year we'll throw all the dead artichoke flowers into a pile and see if they will do it again. And if it works, it could put a hopeful spin on that dark old Rolling Stones country-western song, "Dead Flowers."