The artichoke is the most amazing plant. I usually plant them in the fall and wait all winter for them to grow. Then in April the waiting is over and for about 8 weeks I am in heaven eating steamed artichokes whenever I want, either dipped in Italian dressing, or a butter and lemon combination. Then when we are totally sick of them and they are still growing abundantly, a miracle happens. If I leave them on the stalk, they open into the most beautiful flower with the most brilliant florescent purple hue you can ever imagine. It never ceases to amaze me. I think I remember year to year how bright they are but my memory never does it justice. The Thistle is such a beautiful flower no matter what the size.