Why do I find artichokes so fascinatingly beautiful?
Is it their prehistoric quality that seems to come from a different time and place in the world's history?
The leaves are a beautiful green with a tinge of blue and silver. The jagged edges catch the light in amazing ways and cast such interesting shadows.
The buds seem so "prickly" and untouchable. Who was the first person to figure out that they were edible? Who was brave enough to try it first? Was he the brother of a kid named Mikey? "He won't eat it... he hates everything!"
When I cut off a thick stem to harvest an artichoke, it oozes a sticky clear liquid that was probably used as the first glue in some ancient kindergarten class to glue pictures of buffalo to the classroom walls.
If I leave the thick stems to dry naturally, they are so strong that I can't break them over my knee or cut them with my garden shears. Who knew that the strongest building material in the world was the artichoke stem? I wonder if Home Depot knows this.
Then that same mysterious edible bud with its thick waxy petals if left on the stem long enough becomes an electric display of soft purple-blue so soft to the touch I can't believe it came from this plant. The petals of the bud even change from a green to a soft faded aubergine color as if to be in harmony with the center that is such an explosion of electric blue my logical mind tells me the color just couldn't occur in nature. But it does.
Yet it still looks a slight bit untouchable.