Answer: Cynara cardunculus or cardoon is an interesting plant in the flower garden although it was originally grown as a vegetable plant -- as a type of artichoke -- with the edible roots and stems being blanched in the garden by wrapping the leaves up around them. So it is a bit of a curiosity.
The foliage actually looks its best over a longer period in cooler summer areas. (In warmer climates such as Florida it is grown as a cool season crop.)
It needs a rich, humusy, evenly moist yet well drained soil to do its best. Some gardeners allow it to bloom because they like the looks, others remove the blooms as a matter of preference. Once it has bloomed, deadhead it to prevent the plant using energy to produce seed.
To make it look better, you could also trim off some of the rattiest looking foliage, make sure fertility is adequate and also water it deeply during dry spells.
Enjoy your cardoon!
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