top of page
  • rosiebritton45

Story of a seed-head

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

artichoke seed head in Autumn, perhaps a cardoon?
Seed-head in Autumn

We overwintered this seed-head in the conservatory and now its seeds have started to disperse. Set against a dark background with the sun streaming through it, the contrast between the blurred halo of its crown and the sharp detail of the individual seeds and their shadows is dramatic.

artichoke seed head
Artichoke seed head

The previous day my husband Roger had photographed it against a white background: the seeds look like sprig muslin.

Just 5 days earlier it had been a tight little ball. It looked a though it should be soft as down but when we touched it, it was surprisingly bristly: a blond hedgehog!

I thought about the history of this seed-head, now having fulfilled its purpose in life by releasing its seeds with their little parachutes to waft them far and wide.

Fortunately I still had some photos of the plants in their full glory last summer, coming into flower, hosting a butterfly, and eventually towering above the surrounding plants.

Artichoke or cardoon? I am not sure

The subtlety of the colours, textures and patterns of this silver-washed fritillary could inspire an abstract painting


When wind damage made it sensible to cut them down, Roger arranged the heads in a Cretan pot next to the sofa on the patio, where they stayed all winter.

There they had formed part of our attempt to integrate our new sofa with the

rest of the patio and made an interesting contrast with the tiered heads of the phlomis nearby.

All through the winter the parent plant has survived in good shape and before long it will be in flower again.

Meantime we shall scatter the seeds and another cycle will begin.

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page