Saturday, September 22, 2007

Summer's Last Hurrah

Autumn is officially here and I'm glad for the change. I love this time of year and everything it has to offer: fall fairs, apple picking, roadside stands with fresh corn by the bag, colourful leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and cozy sweaters. But there's one plant in my garden that's reluctant to concede that summer has been shown the door: the Jerusalem artichoke.

Every spring I pull out buckets and buckets of its tubers. The plant is more than happy to multiply. In late summer, I look at its towering coarse stems and rough leaves and wonder why I bother to keep any around. Come fall, I'm so happy to see their sunny faces. The Jerusalem artichoke towers above the rest, reaching seven to eight feet tall. And nothing beats its yellow blooms. Even on a chilly morning, just looking at the flowers warms me right up.

The Jerusalem Artichoke isn't exactly a great fit for my garden. And the plant has some problems. Its leaves are always dusted with something white (mildew perhaps?) making it somewhat less than attractive. Even so, I'm sure that when I'm weeding out all the extras next spring and cursing their prolific multiplication, the Jerusalem Artichoke is one plant I'll probably always have a few of. It says so long to summer unlike any other flower I know.


Soilman said...

Presumably you eat the tubers? I've not grown Jerusalem artichokes before, but I was planning to start next year because I love them so much in soups etc. This has inspired me to do it, because I hadn't realised the flowers were so lovely. Sort of added bonus!

Owin & Irena said...

i've never actually tried the tubers but i know lots of recipes exist out there. will have to investigate further and whip something together.

Connie said...

Nice to see you back in blogland. :-)
I grew these several years ago when I had my big garden. They are nice and crunchy added to salads.

Owin & Irena said...

hi connie. good to be back. the end of summer was busy. I enjoyed your recent butterfly photos.

I'm really going to have to try these Jerusalem Artichokes in a recipe. in the past, I've just chucked them all in the compost bin.

Soilman said...

You can't chuck them on the compost, Irena! They're a gourmet delight!! Honestly!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

The flowers are beautiful! I was going to ask if you ate them, but I see you are going to give them a try.