cardoon fits nicely in this Mediterranean Garden, where its
foliage partners well with plants like agave and bromeliads.
Cardoon is a
plant the Romans and Greeks ate as a vegetable, but today its
popularity is such that you normally find them right alongside other
pansy partners like flowering cabbage, kale and mustard. You really
could not find a more striking companion plant to grow alongside not
only pansies but violas, snapdragons dianthus and the flush of spring
civilizations ate them and you can too; a quick Internet search will
provide you with an abundance of mouthwatering recipes that will allow
you to polish your culinary skills. On the other hand they are such
magnificent architectural plants in the garden you just may be content
to relish in their beauty. The show they put on in the garden is
approximately nine months long.
speaking, cardoon is known scientifically as Cynara cardunculus and is
related to the globe artichoke. It is from Morocco, northwest Africa
and the Mediterranean, and it is a cold hardy perennial through zone
7. The whole country however has started to enjoy them as annuals. I
have grown them for years and they have always proven to be real
performers. The catalog for one of my favorite nurseries says that
cardoon has been chosen by the Royal Horticultural Society as one of
the top plants of the last 200 years.
native to that part of the world don’t like the southeast heat and
humidity, but this plant seems to be quite at home here in Georgia. We
have some in our Mediterranean garden and others in the cottage garden
where we have them partnered with Bouquet Purple dianthus and pansies
and flower kale.
When I described
it as an architectural plant I was referring to the dramatic statement
it makes in the flower border with its long, arching, deeply toothed
and soft gray-green foliage. It can easily form a 3 to 5-foot wide
clump by late spring to early summer. In June you will be amazed as
the plant reaches its full height, producing 4 to 6-foot-tall spikes
with thistle-like, blue-violet or purple blooms.
blooms are sought after as one of the most sensational looking cut
flowers you’ll ever see in the vase. Each plant produces several
flowers to use in your arrangements. After blooming, the plant dies to
the ground to return in the fall.
Mediterranean garden cardoon fits nicely with other striking foliage
like various agave and cold tolerant bromeliads. Though we also have
it with cool-season flowers in the cottage garden, know that it could
have its place in a large herb or vegetable garden and as the thriller
plant in mixed containers.
culinary artists rave about its use in the kitchen you may find
yourself among the many that will celebrate the fact it is not on the
preferred diet of the growing deer population. Before running out and
grabbing your neighbors’ cardoon plants for dinner, be warned that
these plants are armed with spines. Besides that, don’t steal them
when you can find them at your local garden centers and grow your own.
deep, fertile soils and plenty of sun. Once established, it can take
temperatures in the teens, so get it started in the fall. The cool
season is a wonderful time to garden, and foliage plants like cardoon
make it even more enjoyable.