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.