by Connie Oswald Stofko
If you want to try something different in your spring garden this year, the folks at Lockwood’s Greenhouses suggest the artichoke.
If you like to cook and eat artichokes, you’ll naturally be drawn to this plant, but it’s interesting in several ways to gardeners.
First, it gets beautiful gray-green foliage, making it a wonderful accent plant, said Teresa Buchanan, garden center manager. You can enjoy it as a lovely addition to your flower bed. The plant is in the thistle family and it gets a pretty purple or blue flower.
However, this is a case of not being able to have your cake and eat it, too. Unlike plants such as tomato or squash, which produce a flower from which the fruit develops, the artichoke does it the other way around. The artichoke fruit develops first, then the flower is produced from the fruit. If you want to harvest the artichokes, you have to pick them before the flowers form.
“Or you can keep the flower and enjoy the whole life cycle,” Buchanan said.
If you’re trying to fill up space in a new garden, the artichoke is a good choice. It gets really big–It’s recommended that you plant them five feet apart.
“You have to have room for them,” noted Jill Kisker, grower at Lockwood’s.
Lockwood’s will have the plants ready in the spring; they can be planted outdoors after danger of frost has passed (usually Memorial Day weekend).
Lockwood’s, located at 4484 Clark St., Hamburg, is now open in the back glass greenhouses for customers who want houseplants, gift cards, tart cherry juice and bird food. Stop by during the day Monday through Friday or give them a call at 649-4684 so they know you are coming.
They will reopen the retail store on March 14.