Lessons from an Artichoke

We’re kind of accidental, experimental gardeners. A decade ago, we got it in our head that we wanted to grow some veggies. If you haven’t noticed, we’re kind of a “go big or go home” family, so rather than start with a couple tomato and cucumber plants in the modest garden beds around our house, we bought a tiller and turned over a garden larger than any room in our house. It was a bit of a flop since we ended up moving shortly thereafter.

Not easily deterred, we picked up where we left off at our “forever” home a couple years later. We’re the kind of “gardener” who flips through a seed catalog and orders whatever looks “fun.” Additionally, Patrick also has no problem imagining something and just going for it when it comes to garden design. We’ve had everything from throw seeds into the barely tilled earth, to organic shapes with built in underground irrigation, to our current 16 raised beds.




Because we’ll grow almost anything, we’ve stumbled across all kinds of new factoids. Did you know loofah sponges aren’t from the sea (as most people seem to assume), but are actually the inside of a fibrous fruit that grows on a vine that is in the squash family?

That brings us to our artichoke plant. We planted like 3 things last summer because we were trying to run a coffee shop and deal with a mental health crisis. One happened to be an artichoke plant seedling. Then we promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to January. I’m walking through the garden lamenting at what a fail the past season was and I stumble across our artichoke plant which now takes up almost an entire bed but produces exactly ONE fruit.

Lesson #1. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort and support to do ONE thing. Sometimes ONE person requires ALL the resources in an area. You’ll do better if you know this going in ahead of time.

I assume it’s way past when we could eat it, but cut it off and bring it in with the intention of looking up how one prepares a fresh artichoke.

Life happens. I procrastinate on my artichoke project. Then, one blistery, cold day, I come out to this.

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My artichoke had flowered!

Lesson #2. It was a hard week, but the unseasonable sunshine and warmth in our neck of the woods has helped me remember that even in the midst of winter (literal and figurative), God provides what we need. Sometimes we need to go looking for it, but go foraging with faith! I needed a taste of spring in the middle of winter. He’s provided that over and over again. At my hopeless point this week, I started foraging, and he came through with a solution to a problem that only he could provide.

[bctt tweet=”I needed a taste of #spring in the middle of winter.”]

Looking through my artichoke still-life photos, I also came across this.

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Same sunlight, same white balance, but if you notice it’s a much cooler image (color-wise) than the first one. The only difference was that I changed it’s “environment” from the warm tones of the hardwood floor to the greener tones of an Ethiopian grass basket.

 Lesson #3. Sometimes, a different perspective or change of environment can change our outlook on a situation.

I’d love to hear if these little lessons resonate with you…and if you knew that artichokes flowered!?!

Lessons from an artichoke


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