If you grow rhubarb, then any time soon your plants will be doing their best to beautify themselves with flowers. You shouldn't be just picking stalks, but also vanquishing such vanity by removing the flower bud.
All the gardening books exhort you to do this, as it is said to save the plant’s energy for growing the bits we want to eat. Though, if your rhubarb is like mine, it just becomes more energetic in sending up more buds, which is why last year I got to wondering.
Normally I obediently cut off every one (I was a good girl at school, too), but last year my curiosity won. What was I was hacking off? My imagination ran riot. Rhubarb is a showy plant; surely its flowers would match the leaves? At the very least, I decided, it would produce a tall column topped with a colourful spike, possibly like a delphinium, maybe even a verbascum. Whatever form it took, I was positive it would be bright crimson.
So I let one flower.
For all those who’ve ever wondered what a rhubarb flower actually looks like, the result is pictured. It’s not a spike and it ain’t crimson.
This year I’m hacking them off.