Last December, I was at the Beacon train station, and I noticed a really magnificent specimen of a thistle. It was growing, still green in December, thriving among the gravel so carefully placed to keep weeds down (see Thistle: Waiting for the Train).
Well, today I happened to be at the Beacon train station again, waiting for the New York City train, and there was my prickly friend. The thistle has weathered the winter, better than I did–no colds, flu or dry skin–and is in fine shape. No more just a flat basal rosette of leaves–now it’s time to spring into action.
And here’s the same plant more than four months later:
Strong green shoots are thrusting up from the center. Being green and photosynthesizing all winter gives thistles a tremendous head start. In this chilly spring, most plants are still underground, timidly beginning to consider the possibility of germinating. The thistle has already started its journey to summer.