Plants I Can’t Do Without: Cardoon

If you told me I had to garden without Cardoon. I’d sit right down and cry. I’d maybe make a country song out of it. Maybe I’d have a hunger strike…. no, I wouldn’t really ever do that. Ever.
Cardoon is a love-it-or-hate it plant- so naturally I love it. I like a plant that pushes buttons! I wonder why?
It has huge, jagged, silvery, arching leaves that eventually, if you’re lucky, it shoots up some weird artichokey flower buds that hatch into purple thistley blooms. As much as I love the flowers, I’m all about the leaves. It’s a great contrast to the fine foliaged plants I have it planted with- Delphiniums, Cosmos, Black Elderberry and Bronze Fennel. I can’t get enough of it’s vase-shaped, Godzilla-like presence. This plant is giving my garden a big, toothy, menacing hug.
And when you see the photos? You say, "What the @$#* is that??"
In spring…

Right now…

What do you think? Love it or hate it?
It’s probably more of a novelty to me than some gardeners, as it’s officially a zone 7 and I’m a 5 and I’ve over wintered it for 2 years now. Perhaps those of you that garden in warmer places are sick and tired of Cardoon? I always think that stuff is funny.
I’ll be in the forum, composing that country song…

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About Amanda Thomsen

Big, loud and fun- Amanda Thomsen landscapes by day and blogs at night. Her blog, Kiss My Aster, on Horticulture magazine's website has alienated/enraptured dozens. She co-authors a blog called Plants That Suck that is about plants that suck. And she is the less popular half of the podcasting team, Good Enough Gardening, which makes her feel like the "Roy" of of Siegfried and Roy, but without the mauling. She lives in Chicago and does not EVER put ketchup on hot dogs.

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